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United triumph as United States, Canada and Mexico are awarded 2026 World Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino (r) poses with the United 2026 bid (Canada, Mexico, US) officials: Left-Right Sunil Gulati former president of the United States Soccer Federation, CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani, president of the Mexican Football Association Decio de Maria Serrano, president of the United States Football Association Carlos Cordeiro and Steve Reed president of the Canadian Soccer Association after the announcement of the host for the 2026 FIFA World Cup went to United 2026 bid during the 68th FIFA Congress at Moscow's Expocentre on June 13, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
by Keir Radnedge, AIPS Football Commission Chairman

MOSCOW, June 13, 2018 - The United States, together with junior partners Canada and Mexico, will host the 2026 World Cup finals on the voting command of the annual FIFA Congress in the Moscow Expocenter.

United 2026 trounced its lone rival, Morocco, by 134 to 65 with abstentions from Slovenia, Spain plus Cuba with Iran voting 'none of the above'. The four federations involved in the bids were barred from voting. Click here to see how FIFA's member associations voted.

Mexico will thus take a hosting role for a third time after sole stagings in 1970 and 1986 while the US welcomed the world game in 1994. Canada staged a successful Women’s World Cup in 2015.

Leaders of the two bids had raced around the pre-congress conferences of the regional confederations here in pursuit of votes but without any late suggestion that the north African outsiders could pull off a shock success to rock the presidency of Gianni Infantino.

The Swiss-Italian was believed to have favoured the proposal from the United States with junior partners Canada and Mexico because of its all-round financial superiority from ticketing revenue to hospitality income to sponsorship allure.

United 2026 trounced its lone rival, Morocco, by 134 to 65 with one abstention from Togo.

Each bid had a 15-minute slot to state its case. United kicked off with appeals for support from federation chairs Decio De Maria (Mexico), Steven Reed (Canada) and Carlos Cordeiro (US).

De Maria said a United hosting would be “like a great family reunion, all of us sharing our favourite sport.” Cordeiro concluded by saying: “Our three nations understand the power of football to bring people together just as it has brought us together.”

United’s campaigning effort had leaned heavily on having all necessary infrastructure in place and the projection of a record $11bn profit for FIFA’s coffers.

Morocco, by contrast, had promoted a concept of a need for the world game to be seen encouraging emerging countries. Its presentation led off with a promotional review followed up by appeals from bid chair Moulay Hafid Elalamy and a wrap-up by federation president Fouzi Lekjaa.

FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura then summarised the reports delivered by the controversial five-man evaluation task force which were heavily weighted in favour of the United proposal.

Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands recused themselves from taking part in the vote because of their status as US territories.

FIFA rebuilt the bidding process after the scandals surrounding the awards by the old executive committee in 2010 to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022. Now, for the first time since 1966, the full congress voted on bids analysed by the task force and approved by the 36-strong FIFA Council.

For the first time at all individual voting was to be laid open to public scrutiny.

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