USA, Mexico and Canada to host 2026 World Cup
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The 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada after FIFA's congress voted on Wednesday to back the tri-nation joint bid for the tournament.
The 2026 World Cup will have 48 teams playing a total of 80 games - 60 are planned in the US and 10 each in Canada and Mexico.
All three hosts should get automatic places in the lineup, and each host a game on the tournament's opening day.
Morocco lost again with its fifth bid campaign in the past 30 years, including to the US for the 1994 World Cup.
The 2026 tournament will return to the North American region 32 years after that US-hosted edition. Mexico also hosted in 1970 and 1986.
Bid leader Carlos Cordeiro said his team was "humbled by the trust our colleagues in the FIFA family have put in our bid".
He said the tournament had an opportunity to put football "on a new and sustainable path for generations to come".
It will be the first World Cup to be expanded to 48 teams, posing an enormous logistical challenge for the hosts, one of the issues that is thought to have undermined the Moroccan bid.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino was believed to have strongly backed North America behind the scenes because the trio of countries involved supported him in 2016 when he took over after the corruption-tainted reign of Sepp Blatter.
Delegates had been faced with a clear choice in the 2026 vote.
The joint North American bid boasted modern, established stadiums and well-developed transport links underpinned by Mexican football fervour.
Morocco, on the other hand, promised a "European" World Cup in Africa, playing on its proximity to Europe and an appeal to take the tournament back to the African continent for just the second time.
But compared to North America, Morocco's bid existed largely on paper – many stadiums and roads would have had to have been built and critics questioned how it would have coped with an expanded tournament.
FIFA inspectors classified the north African nation's stadiums, accommodation and transport as "high risk", awarding it just 2.7 out of five in an evaluation report with concerns raised over several critical aspects.
"The amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated," they warned.
The report made the US-Canada-Mexico bid the clear favourite after rating it four out of five, and Morocco was not able to bridge the gap.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)
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