Could FIFA’s Reforms to the World Cup Affect the Chances for the U.S.?

While the odds-makers are saying the U.S. is the favorite to host the 2026 World Cup, there are a few factors that need to be considered. If you’ve built soccer stadiums that just might host the competitions (and let’s face it, the entire U.S. is being viewed as a host, so any city with a great facility is fair game), then you should be aware of the following facts:

  • FIFA has changed its position at various times regarding who will host. Initially, it was excluding European and Asian countries; then it just levied a moratorium on Asian countries. New FIFA rules may see the U.S. bidding on its own, or as part of a bid involving Canada and Mexico (Side note from U.S. organizers: don’t count on that)
  • FIFA has not put out a call for bids yet, but the longer it waits to do so, the better the chances of the country’s success. After all, a U.S. bid will necessarily involve time to work with U.S. lawmakers and government officials. The 2016 election could change the landscape of these partnerships.
  • In addition, according to the New York Times, the tournament may be expanded from 32 teams to as many as 48 countries. (Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s current had originally proposed an increase to 40 teams as part of his election campaign, and has also suggested a 48-team tournament.)
  • It would almost certainly create a demand for more venues, at least in the preliminary rounds, and venues would be something the U.S. has in abundance. In fact, its bid would not rely on the construction of additional facilities – something of which FIFA is cognizant following the scandal.

Want to keep up with the changes and suggestions for the vision of future World Cups, as well as “the beautiful game” itself? FIFA has its own white paper, FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future, outlining various initiatives.

Measures including the size of the World Cup field are due to be voted upon in January. Any changes would take effect in time for the 2026 World Cup, which the United States, Canada and Mexico have all expressed an interest in hosting.

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