The United States, Mexico and Canada are joining together and will enter a bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
The announcement was made Monday afternoon in a press conference hosted by the federations of the three countries at One World Observatory in New York.
The bid also comes at a time while the current US president, Donald Trump, has implemented an aggressive stance on immigration enforcement and wants to build a wall at the US-Mexico border.
“We have the full support of the United States government in this project,” United States Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said. “The President of the United States is fully supportive and encouraged us to have this joint bid. He is especially pleased that Mexico is part of this bid — and that’s in the last few days we’ve gotten further encouragement on that.
“So we’re not at all concerned about some of the issues that other 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 a strong encouragement from President Trump to that very end.”
FIFA, soccer’s governing body, is expected to name the host for 2026 in May 2020, which is the final year of Trump’s first presidential term. Because of US presidential term limits, Trump would not be in office in 2026.
“For the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, and the entire Mexican soccer family, it is a source of pride to be candidates, along with the United States and Canada, to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026,” Mexican Football Federation President Decio de Maria said through a press release. “We have a unique opportunity to be the first country to host three World Cups. As such we are filled with pride and committed to make it the best ever.”
The last time FIFA chose hosts for men’s World Cups the decision was mired in controversy. In December 2010, the governing body announced that Russia and Qatar, respectively, will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. But in the years following, FIFA has had to investigate claims that bribery influenced the voting process.
North America last held a men’s World Cup in 1994, when it was hosted by the US. The US also hosted women’s World Cups in 2003 and 1999, while Mexico has hosted men’s World Cups in 1986 and 1970, and Canada had the women’s World Cup in 2015.
“I really thank Sunil’s open mindedness and U.S. Soccer’s open mindedness and Mexico’s open mindedness,” Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani said. “I think it’s a testament to I think also how football has changed in our region.”
The only other time multiple nations have hosted the World Cup was in 2002, when it was held in South Korea and Japan.
In January, FIFA announced it would expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams starting in 2026.
By Jill Martin, CNN