Could the FIFA World Cup become a co-hosted tournament by 2026? That’s a real possibility, according to FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Victor Montagliani, head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).
“Especially with 48 teams and the increased infrastructure that requires, not so much from a stadium standpoint but training facilities, hotels and all the other things, having the opportunity with three or more countries that are geographically close, it would be reasonable,” Montagliani told Reuters after FIFA said it would encourage co-hosting for the 2026 World Cup.
The sport’s governing body announced that a three-way bid with the United States, Mexico and Canada was one option but did not rule out games in Central America or the Caribbean.
SoccerAmerica.com, a leading source for news about the sport, says co-hosting makes sense for multiple reasons:
A co-hosted tournament in 2026 within CONCACAF … eliminates the possibility of a contested race. We all know what happened in 2010 when Russia and Qatar were awarded the hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Of the 24 executive committee members who were supposed to vote, two were suspended for asking for bribes before the vote took place, and 14 others have since been banned for life or in some manner disciplined.
All these years later, the bidding races for the 2006 and 2010 are being investigated. The bidding contest between Japan and South Korea for the 2002 World Cup was so contested that when it came time for a vote in 1996 FIFA decided to have these rivals co-host the tournament.
There is nothing like that bitter feeling among the three North American rivals.
When asked about the controversial wall U.S. President Donald Trump wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border to block illegal immigrants from entering the States, Montagliani said he doesn’t consider that a negative factor on a World Cup bid by CONCACAF countries.
“Notwithstanding some of the politics that [are] occurring in this part of the world, Trump has been pretty consistent in his support of global events and sport throughout his career as a businessman,” Montagliani told Reuters. “I am not sure I would see that necessarily changing now that he is a president. It is important, if we are going to do something like this, that we get it right from a football and administration end before we start worrying about anything above that. But I am also confident that a World Cup, the only thing of its kind would, no pun intended, trump politics.”