Charlie Stillitano, organizer of the International Champions Cup summer club tournament, says only a “crazy action” by President Donald Trump and his administration could prevent the United States from winning the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Three North American countries, under the umbrella organization United Bid Committee of the United States, Mexico and Canada, have made a bid for the expanded 48-team tournament, with U.S. venues getting 60 of the 80 games and every match from the quarterfinals onward.
“The only thing that could possibly derail [the bid] is some crazy action on the part of our government, but I can’t even imagine that,” Stillitano, the executive chairman of Relevant Sports, said at Soccerex’s Global Convention in England on Sept. 4. “It’s ours to lose. I can’t imagine we won’t have the World Cup.”
In April, U.S. Soccer Federation chief Sunil Gulati told reporters that the Trump administration “is fully supportive of the joint bid, encouraged the joint bid and especially pleased with the fact that Mexico is participating in this joint bid with us.”
Meanwhile, the United Bid Committee recently received confirmations from 41 of 44 cities and 44 of 49 stadiums declaring their of interest in hosting World Cup matches.
The three cities not confirming their interest are Green Bay (Lambeau Field isn’t wide enough), San Diego (Qualcomm Stadium’s future is uncertain) and Calgary (no plan to get McMahon Stadium to 40,000 seats), according to SoccerAmerica.com. Stadiums in Montreal (Stade Saputo) and Toronto (Rodgers Centre) also dropped out.
All stadiums are required to have at least 40,000 seats for group stage matches, and a capacity of at least 80,000 to be considered for the opening game and final. For a list of cities and stadiums still in play, click here.
FIFA is expected to award the 2026 World Cup hosting rights in June 2018.