The United States will join Canada and Mexico in a three-way bid to host the 2026 World Cup, the head of the organization that governsinternational soccer inNorth and Central Americatold The Guardian.
The joint bid — for a tournament that is expected to be expanded that year — isexpected to be finalized and submitted to FIFAthis year, CONCACAF president VIctor Montagliani said.
“The idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” Montagliani said of the three-country bid. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it, and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together.”
Montagliani appeared to be referring to divisiveness caused byU.S. President Donald Trump's follow-through on acampaign promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Asked by The Guardianif that's whathe was referring to, Montagliani —a Canadian insurance executive elected as CONCACAFpresident in May —said soccerhas to “rise above” politics of all kinds.
“It behooves football and leaders of football to deal with it and rise above it,” he said.
The three-country bid would comeas FIFA appears ready toexpand the quadrennial event in 2026 to anew 48-team, 80-game format. A final decision on the format is likely to be“sometime this year,” Montagliani said.
A decision on who will actually host the event won't come until FIFA's annual congress in May 2020. The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia, and the 2022 event — which since-deposed FIFA president Sepp Blatter lobbied for the U.S. host alone — instead was awarded to Qatar.
A 2026 bid from the CONCACAF region — which covers North America,Central America and the Caribbean —would be a strong favorite. CONCACAF last hosted the tournament in 1994, when it was in the U.S.