The 2026 World Cup is coming to the United States, Canada, and Mexico. On Wednesday, FIFA’s voting members chose the North American united bid over Morocco, with only those two countries opting to bid for the world’s biggest sporting event.
A total of 203 of 211 FIFA members were available to vote. Spain was not present after leaving to fire its manager, while seven others recused themselves due to potential conflicts of interest.
Under the old system of rotating the World Cups between continents, North America would have been due. The United States hosted the 1994 World Cup, and every other continent has held the tournament since then. Africa last held the World Cup in 2010, when South Africa hosted the tournament on the continent for the first time in its history.
Ahead of the voting, FIFA conducted a risk assessment of both bids, with Morocco barely passing. Its bid was given a score of 2.7 out of 5, with three technical components rated high risk. The North American united bid was given a score of 4 out of 5, with no components rated high risk. Government support was the only criteria by which Morocco was rated higher than the North American bid.
FIFA's official risk assessments for 2026 World Cup host candidates. Morocco much riskier than USA/Canada/Mex, they say. So based on 2018 & 2022 decisions, when the most unsuitable bids won, it's Morocco 2026! pic.twitter.com/w20wUhCf3F— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) June 1, 2018
Ahead of each bidder’s presentation, FIFA outlined the voting process. Members could have voted to award the World Cup to neither bid, which would have caused the process to start over again, with neither original candidates allowed to resubmit bids.
Here's the 2026 #WorldCup voting procedure explained by FIFA, including how Morocco & North America can be rejected today and the process reopened.— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) June 13, 2018
Follow @AP live coverage from Moscow here https://t.co/ORpzfgQVei pic.twitter.com/WVYEDV4ADB
Both bids put their projected profit up on the big screen during their presentations, and the difference was stark. The North American united bid is expected to generate more than double the profit of a potential Moroccan World Cup.
US Soccer president Carlos Cordiero gets straight to the main selling point "$11 billion dollars"— Simon Evans (@sgevans) June 13, 2018
Morocco's video presentation was very American in style and voice. But they *only* offered $5 billion profits.— Simon Evans (@sgevans) June 13, 2018
Despite speculation that the “neither” option could collect a number of bids, almost everyone committed to a vote in the end. The North American bid collected 134 votes to win on the first ballot, 65 members voted for Morocco, and only one country voted for neither.
The host cities have not been finalized, but the list has been narrowed down to 23 candidates. From there, 16 cities will be selected to host matches. If the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is not expanded at the last minute, the 2026 tournament will be by far the largest in history, with 80 matches to be played. The proposed opening day of the tournament will see games played in Mexico City, Toronto, and Los Angeles, while the final would be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.