WASHINGTON — Forty-one cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico applied to be considered to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and now 32 remain, including Washington, D.C.
North America is considered a strong favorite to win the eventual nomination, which is one of the reasons why the three North American countries are working somewhat in concert to put forth a selection, under the banner of United Bid.
Of those, 25 are from the U.S., four from Canada and three from Mexico.
“The 32 cities that we have identified as potential host cities, on their own and together, are prepared to welcome soccer fans from around the world,” said John Kristick, United Bid Committee executive director, in a press release. “They are more than capable of helping fulfill the shared vision and ambition of FIFA and the United Bid in shaping the future of soccer in North America.”
FIFA mandates certain stadium requirement, which was a primary factor in this round of cuts. Other factors were support facilities, potential training sites, hotels, services and transportation. The cities eliminated from consideration in this round:
- Birmingham, Alabama;
- Cleveland, Ohio;
- Indianapolis, Indiana;
- Jacksonville, Florida;
- New Orleans, Louisiana;
- Ottawa, Ontario;
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
- Regina, Saskatchewan;
- San Antonio, Texas.
“As we move to the next stage of the bid process, we’re even more confident we have everything needed to deliver the largest, most compelling FIFA World Cup in history,” said United Bid Committee chairman Sunil Gulati. “We have more than double the number of cities required to stage matches in 2026.
Unlike a Super Bowl or Olympiad, World Cups are typically won by countries, with one city serving as a focal point for the biggest games. Even if D.C. isn’t selected, as long as the United Bid wins, D.C. could be used for smaller matches and training camp sites for different teams.
North American countries have hosted the World Cup three times, with Mexico hosting twice, and the U.S. bid led by Los Angeles hosting in 1994.