In less than 24 hours, World football governing body, FIFA will in Moscow decide the host candidate for the 2026 FIFA World Cup finals.
All 211 Member Associations of FIFA will vote at the body’s 68th Congress in the Russian capital to choose between African candidate Morocco, and the joint bid of the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Morocco and joint bid of the USA, Canada and Mexico are fighting for the right to stage the biggest World Cup ever held – with 48 teams playing 80 matches over 34 days.
The African nation is bidding for the fifth time to host the world’s biggest single-sport fiesta, and has launched a compact bid in which all host cities are within a radius of maximum two hours by air travel.
In contrast, the USA-Canada-Mexico bid spans the entire North American continent, and could present host cities that are the farthest apart in the history of the competition that began in 1930.
The 2026 finals will be the first to have 48 teams in attendance.
On Sunday, at the 7th meeting of the FIFA Council (formerly known as FIFA Executive Committee), the two bids were ratified to be voted on following the publication of the Bid Evaluation Report by the 2026 Bid Evaluation Task Force.
In the unlikely event that the Congress decides not to choose either of the two candidates, FIFA will then launch a fresh procedure by inviting all interested Member Associations (outside the four already involved) in the second phase.
Styled the ‘United Bid’, the candidacy of USA-Canada-Mexico says it potentially has 23 host cities, with 17 of these located in the USA.
There are three in Canada and three in Mexico.
Morocco’s candidacy is believed to be strong with support expected from a majority of African countries and the European confederation.
USA hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1994, while Mexico hosted in 1970 and 1986.
Canada has never hosted the World Cup but staged the Olympic Games in 1976, the U17 World Cup in 1987, the U20 World Cup in 2007 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup finals will take place in Qatar