The 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup, to be held in 2026, will be hosted by three nations, namely the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 16 cities across the three countries will have world-class venues but the biggest number of games will be in the US. Mexico and Canada will each host 10 games while the remaining 40 (including the quarter and semifinals as well as the final itself) will be held in the US.
The 2026 edition is special in a number of ways. First of all, it will be the first ever FIFA World Cup to be hosted by three nations. The previous record was held by South Korea and Japan when the two states jointly hosted the competition in 2002. In addition, the edition will be the first ever to have a composition of 48 teams and not the usual 32 competing men’s national sides. Lastly, Mexico will also be making a bit of history on its own. Previously, Mexico has hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986 competitions. By playing host to the 2026 edition, Mexico will make its way to the history books by being the first ever nation to host the men’s competition, fully or partially, for three times.
Host Selection for FIFA 2026
The selection for a host dragged out for quite a while between 2013 and 2017 until a decision was made. Eventually, in March 2017, Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President, stated that UEFA nations and those in the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) were ineligible to host the tournament. All this was after Russia, from UEFA, was confirmed as the host for the 2018 World Cup and Qatar, from the AFC, was confirmed as the host for the 2022 World Cup. According to the ever-changing rules, a confederation is only allowed to host a FIFA World Cup two years after it has already played host. Effectively, this means that no other country in UEFA is allowed to host the tournament in 2022 or 2026. After the two editions are played, then UEFA members are allowed to bid again. The same two-year interval also applies to nations from the AFC. The bid from the three united countries received 134 valid votes while Morocco received 65. A united bid was allowed again for the 2026 edition after it was banned following the joint hosting by South Korea and Japan back in 2002.
The huge number of matches, 60, is obviously because of the increased number of teams. Out of all the confederations, UEFA will continue to have the highest number of slots, 16, while the OFC will only have a single slot. Just like before, the teams to qualify for the tournament will battle it out in qualification rounds with only the top teams in their groups qualifying. As usual, the hosts get automatic entry to the FIFA World Cup.
Potential Cities and Stadiums
As it stands, there are 23 potential cities that can host the 2026 FIFA World Cup Games. However, the list will be narrowed down to 16 either in 2020 or 2021. The US will have ten host cities while Canada and Mexico will each have three. Currently, the potential cities include the following:
• The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec with a bid book capacity of 55,822, expandable up to 73,000.
• The Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta with a bid book capacity of 56,418.
• The BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario with a capacity of 30,000 expandable up to 45,500.
• The Estadio Azteca stadium in Mexico City with a capacity of 87,523.
• The Estadio BBVA Bancomer stadium in Monterrey, Nuevo León with a bid book capacity of 53,460.
• The Estadio Akron stadium in Guadalajara, Jalisco with a bid book capacity of 48,071.
• The Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles, California with a bid book capacity of 88,432.
• The MetLife Stadium in New York City, New York with a bid book capacity of 87,157.
• The FedExField stadium in Washington, D.C., with a bid book capacity of 70,249.
• The AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas with a bid book capacity of 92,967, expandable up to 100,000.
• The Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri with a bid book capacity of 76,640.
• The Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado with a bid book capacity of 77,595.
• The NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas with a bid book capacity of 72,220.
• The M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland with a bid book capacity of 70,976.
• The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia with a bid book capacity of 75,000, expandable up to 83,000.
• The Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a bid book capacity of 69,328.
• The Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee with a bid book capacity of 69,722, expandable up to 75,000.
• The CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington with a capacity of 69,000, expandable to 72,000.
• The Levi's Stadium in San Fransisco, California with a bid book capacity of 70,909, expandable to 75,000.
• The Gillette Stadium in Boston, Massachusetts with a bid book capacity of 70,000.
• The Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio with a bid book capacity of 67,402.
• The Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida with a bid book capacity of 67,518.
• The Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida with a bid book capacity of 65,000.