North America on alert as Europe, Asia urged not to bid for 2026 World Cup

Reuters

A possible bid to host the 2026 World Cup in North American received a boost Friday after the FIFA Council urged European and Asian countries to refrain from bidding on the tournament.

The decision comes after the FIFA Council concluded that a bid from countries within either continent would likely fail to win hosting rights considering that Russia and Qatar will host the marquee tournament in 2018 and 2022, respectively.

Europe, however, was given a lifeline, according to the Associated Press, as the world football governing body said bids from within the continent would be considered if "none of the received bids fulfill the strict technical and financial requirements."

However, the United States and Canada have already stated a desire to bid on the 2026 competition. In the past, there's been discussions of a possible joint bid that would see the two nations, along with Mexico, host the World Cup, but that may be unlikely after FIFA stated in March that it plans on reviewing whether or not to allow joint bids.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino was unwilling to prematurely say the World Cup would return to North America for the first time since the U.S. hosted in 1994.

"It is still too early to say that," Infantino said when asked. "We hope we have many bidders and we can choose ... who the best bidder is."

A decision on who will host in 2026 is expected to be made in 2020.

Meanwhile, the governing body will decide on another major change soon as its members will vote on whether to expand the World Cup from its current 32-team format during the FIFA Council meetings on Jan. 9-10.

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North America on alert as Europe, Asia urged not to bid for 2026 World Cup
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