The FIFA World Cup trophy.
By Michael Lewis
This afternoon three North American countries will come together to officially announce an unprecedented cooperation in international soccer.
The United States, Canada and Mexico will officially announce they will combine to become tri-costs in their efforts to secure the 2026 World Cup. Press releases from the country’s federations and CONCACAF called it an “historic” announcement.
The announcement and details will come at the Freedom Tower atop World Trade Center in Manhattan Monday afternoon.
If the bid is approved by FIFA in three years, the World Cup will be held in the U.S. in or around the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
The World Cup will be played with 48 countries and in much larger and virtually different venues than the 24-team competition the Americans hosted in 1994.
“The idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani told The Guardian of the three-country bid. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it, and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together.”
Montagliani appeared to be referring to divisiveness caused by President Donald Trump’s follow-through on a campaign promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Asked by The Guardian if that’s what he was referring to, Montagliani said that soccer has to “rise above” politics of all kinds.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, a member of the FIFA Council, Montagliani, who also is president of the Canadian Soccer Association and Mexican Football Federation president Decio de Maria, who also is a CONCACAF vice president, will attend the press conference.
One other World Cup was hosted by multiple nations — Korea and Japan — in 2002, as those countries were separated by a body of water.
Mexico, Canada and the U.S. are on one huge land continent.
The Mexicans hosts two World Cups — 1970 and 1986 before USA ’94, which jump started soccer in this country and helped lead to the formation of Major League Soccer.
CONCACAF has not hosted a World Cup since then, seven cycles ago.
In 2010, the U.S. placed a bid to host the 2022 World Cup but FIFA instead awarded it to Qatar in a controversial decision.
FIFA won’t make a decision on the 2026 World Cup until its 2020 Congress.