The United States, Canada and Mexico haveconfirmed they are launching a jointbid to host the first 48-team World Cup in 2026.
FIFA announced last Januarythe decision to expand international soccer's premier competition by 16 teams, and the North American trio became the first to make their interest in hosting the event official at a media conference Mondayin New York.
CONCACAF is in lineto receive six qualification spots for the expanded World Cup, meaning only three automatic places would remain available if the U.S., Canada and Mexico are successful. The qualification proposals are set to be ratified in May.
The World Cup has taken place in Mexico twice —in 1970 and 1986 — andthe US was the venue for the 1994 edition.
U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said: "The last time I stood here [at One World Trade Center] was to say goodbye, goodbye to the Copa America.
"Now today we are saying hello, hello to something else, and what we are saying hello to is the 2026 World Cup and our efforts to bring that back to the United States, Canada and Mexico.
"We look forward to welcoming the world after what we hope is a very successful bid."
The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has heightened political tensions with neighborMexico, but Gulati insisted Trump supported and actively encouraged Mexico's involvement in the bid.
"We have the full support of the United States government in this project. The president of the United States is fully supportive and encouraged us to have this joint bid," added Gulati.
"He is especially pleased that Mexico is part of this bid and that's in the last few days we've got further encouragement on that. We're not at all concerned about some of the other issues that some people may raise.
"We looked at bidding alone and decided in the end we wanted to bid with our partners in North America and we have strong encouragement from president Trump to that very end."
The general parameters of that bid are 80 games, Gulati said,three quarters of which will be played in the United States —60 games in the United States —and 10 each in Canada and Mexico.
"The final decision on those things are up to FIFA, but that is our proposal and our agreement together," he said.