Where will the next World Cup 2026 be held, how many teams will be there, and format?
The Qatar World Cup was the first ever winter edition of the competition – and Argentina ran out winners after a remarkable final against France.
Fans are already now turning their thoughts to the next instalment of the World Cup, which is also set to break new ground as it is hosted jointly by three countries, as well as being expanded to include 48 competing teams all bidding for the top spot.
But who will be hosting the next competition and which countries are in contention to play host in 2030? Here's what we know so far.
Where will the next World Cup take place?
In a tournament first, the World Cup will be held across three host countries – America, Canada and Mexico – after the trio's bid fended off a strong proposal from Morocco.
The matches will be played across 16 different cities – 11 from America, two in Canada and three in Mexico. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all be held in the US.
Fifa agree to bumper payday for clubs over international call-ups
By Sam Wallace
Fifa has agreed to pay clubs millions of pounds extra in revenue from their new expanded World Cup finals in 2026 and the Club World Cup under an agreement to be struck this week over player release.
The deal will be announced by the major independent body that represents European clubs – the European Club Association (ECA) – this week with clubs having released players for international duty this month despite no agreement being in place.
The most recent deal between clubs and Fifa for recompense clubs over player release expired on Dec 31. A renewal agreement had been planned at a meeting during the World Cup in Doha between the ECA, led by its president, and Paris St-Germain chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi and his Fifa counterpart Gianni Infantino. In the event, Infantino failed to show although he is expected in Budapest this week at the ECA annual congress.
Fifa and the ECA agreed the payments for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments at £170 million in 2015. That was a steep rise from £57 million for the 2014 World Cup. The agreement for 2026 is expected to be a major increase.
The clubs have demanded an increase in payments from Fifa in line with its expanded 48-team tournament in 2026 which will feature more players competing in more games. Fifa also announced plans for a 32-team Club World Cup starting in 2025. In Qatar last year the governing body said that its revenue from the four-year World Cup cycle had grown from £5.2 billion for Russia 2018 to £6.1 billion for the 2022 tournament.
The agreement was a matter of some urgency for the clubs who went into the current international break with no memorandum of understanding in place with Fifa to insure their players for injury when on duty for their countries.
The power of the clubs is such that it is also anticipated that the ECA will agree a joint venture with Fifa for revenue sharing from the World Cup. One already exists between the ECA and Uefa to joint manage revenue from Uefa’s club competitions. The Uefa-ECA joint venture grants extraordinary power to the ECA, including a veto on the agreement on broadcast deals if the clubs believe they have been undersold.
When is the next World Cup?
The exact dates of the 2026 tournament have not yet been announced but the competition is expected to return to its traditional summer slot, from June into July.
How many teams will be at the World Cup 2026?
Currently, the World Cup features 32 teams all competing to be crowned champions. However, the tournament in 2026 will be contested by 48 teams.
Fifa said that the decision to expand will "mean more participation, more opportunities for footballers around the whole world and more excitement on the pitch".
Initially, a new competition format was revealed by Fifa, in which 16 groups of three teams would compete for qualification. The top two teams from each group would advance through to a round of 32 which would then be single elimination through to the final.
However, it is understood Fifa are reconsidering this stance after seeing the success and competition of the traditional four-team format used in Qatar.
A revised plan would most likely see the introduction of 12 groups of four, with the eight highest-placed third-place finishers also going through to the last 32. Under that new format, including an extra round, the World Cup from 2026 onwards could include a total of 104 games.
How does Fifa decide on the hosting nation?
The host nation is decided by a rigorous bidding process. Fifa takes a number of factors into account when deciding which country, or countries, will play host to the tournament.
Many of these criteria are around available infrastructure including stadium capacities, fan accommodation, transport systems as well as facilities for the teams and referees themselves.
When is the World Cup 2030 announcement?
Despite still being some way off, several countries have already expressed an interest in hosting the 2030 instalment of the World Cup.
In 2018, it was announced that Morocco would make a bid for 2030 after they were unsuccessful over the 2026 tournament.
Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay also stated in August 2022 that they would be making a four-country bid to bring the World Cup back to South America.
Saudi Arabia are also eyeing a bid, possibly jointly with Egypt and Greece
Additionally, Ukraine has joined Spain and Portugal in their bid to host the World Cup 2030.
The official vetting process will take place over the next two years with an announcement expected in 2024 after the 211 member associations have cast their vote. This will give the winning host nation six years to prepare.
This article is kept updated with the latest information.