Three-way bid launched for first 48-team FIFA World Cup

By the time U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati sat before the media on Monday in New York City to discuss the worst-kept secret in soccer - that the United States would bid for the 2026 World Cup with co-hosts Canada and Mexico - the official announcement had lost considerable steam.

Giving details of the bid for the first time, Gulati said the initial plan was for 60 of the 80 games to be played in the U.S., with Canada and Mexico hosting 10 each.

If the bid finally approved, Mexico will be the first country to host the World Cup three times as they hosted the 1970 and 1986 World Cup on previous occasions.

Under current Federation Internationale de Football Association rules, bids from Europe and Asia are not eligible for 2026 since Russia is already preparing to host in 2018 and Qatar will stage the event in 2022.

At the press conference at One World Trade Center, Gulati acknowledged as much.

It may be recalled here that the US had bid on its own for the rights to host the 2022 tournament but lost out to Qatar. He is especially pleased that Mexico is part of this bid.

The unified bid from the CONCACAF nations would mark the first time that three countries would jointly host a Federation Internationale de Football Association competition. Canada is the only one of the three that has never hosted a World Cup. The United States, host nation in 1994, probably has the facilities and infrastructure to host a tournament on that scale by itself tomorrow.

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The election of Donald Trump as USA president has heightened political tensions with neighbours Mexico, but Gulati insisted Trump supported and actively encouraged their involvement in the bid.

Gulati also played down the possibility that the politics of US President Donald Trump could hamper the bid.

Under FIFA plans for its expanded 48-team World Cup, CONCACAF is awarded six berths. What we do know is that the USA will host 60 matches, including every game from the quarterfinals through to the final.

"We have the full support of the United States government in this project", Gulati said, as reported by Bryan Armen Graham of The Guardian.

The World Cup has taken place in Mexico twice - in 1970 and 1986 - while the United States was the venue for the 1994 edition.

The 2018 World Cup will be in Russian Federation while Qatar hosts the tournament in 2022. By teaming up, Canada, Mexico, and the United States will only need to compete with CAF bids from countries in Africa, CONMEBOL bids from countries in South America, and OFC bids from countries in Oceania.

However the prospect of a fresh American bid gathered momentum in 2014 after the World Cup in Brazil. However, the European Championship has been hosted by multiple countries at the same time on a handful of occasions.

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