U.S. Gets Oddly Fortunate Boost For 2026 World Cup Bid

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have joined together to bid for the right to host the 2026 World Cup. The only opposition is a bid from Morocco (outlined here), which has picked up a surprising amount of backers, from large portions of Africa to European nations like France and Germany. But the U.S. 2026 World Cup bid received an odd boost on Thursday.

In a way, the united bid has an immediate disadvantage to the Morocco bid in that the three would-be host countries are not allowed to participate in FIFA’s vote in June on who will host in 2026. That’s three countries that would be in favor of the united bid compared to one lost for Morocco.

But the U.S. 2026 World Cup bid will be able to receive votes from four U.S. territories that are FIFA members: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All four are governed by the United States, but each is considered a separate soccer nation by FIFA and each has a vote in the upcoming election. (It’s similar to how England and Scotland are separate in the eyes of FIFA.)

“FIFA’s member associations are entitled to participate and vote in the FIFA Congress,” FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Regarding potential conflicts of interest in the context of the voting procedure for the election of the host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup ... at the time of writing, no member association has notified FIFA about its intention not to perform their duties in connection with the bidding procedure.”

Hooray for imperialism! Take that Morocco. I bet you wish Western Sahara had its own FA right about now! Now if we can just get power fully restored in Puerto Rico by the vote on June 13 so the Federación Puertorriqueña de Fútbol doesn’t vote against the U.S. to spite the paper towel thrower. Or maybe Trump can just try to annex Barbados or something so he can build a hotel there. 

U.S. 2026 World Cup Bid

The U.S. beat Puerto Rico 3-1 in a friendly in 2016. Photo: @SportsCenter | Twitter

The statement from FIFA came partly in response to Morocco’s repeated protests of the fairness of the bidding process in its fifth bid to host the tournament. Morocco has also complained about FIFA’s increased demands in terms of stadium and infrastructure requirements to host the tournament, which will be the first to be contested by 48 teams instead of 32. 

The U.S. 2026 World Cup bid (along with Mexico and Canada) makes sense for a lot of reasons, most of all the huge stadiums and strong infrastructure already in place and a population that would likely shatter all World Cup attendance records. FIFA president Gianni Infantino ran for president on the platform of providing cash to smaller nations, so a money making World Cup would make the most sense for him and FAs in need of cash. 

This latest boost from FIFA, while small, is better than nothing, with more than 200 federations allowed to vote. Assuming the four U.S. territories vote for the united bid, it cancels out the slight disadvantage of the host nations not being allowed to vote. What actually happens on June 13, however, is anyone’s guess.  

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