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2026 FIFA World Cup

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2026 FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup 2026
Copa del Mundo de la FIFA 2026
Coupe du Monde FIFA 2026
Tournament details
Host countriesCanada
United States
DatesJune–July 2026
Teams48 (from 6 confederations)
Venue(s)16 (in 16 host cities)

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international men's soccer championship contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA. The tournament will be jointly hosted by 16 cities in three North American countries: Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Sixty matches, including every match from the quarterfinals onward, will be hosted by the United States while neighboring Canada and Mexico will each host 10 matches. The tournament will be the first hosted by three nations.[1][2] This tournament will be the first to include 48 teams, expanded from 32.[3] The United 2026 bid beat a rival bid by Morocco during a final vote at the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow. It will be the first World Cup since 2002 that will be hosted by more than one nation, and the first by more than two. With its past hosting of the 1970 and 1986 tournaments, Mexico will become the first country to host or co-host the men's World Cup three times. The United States last hosted the World Cup in 1994, whereas it will be Canada's first time hosting or co-hosting the men's tournament.


Michel Platini, who was President of UEFA at the time, had suggested in October 2013 an expansion of the tournament to 40 teams,[4][5] an idea that FIFA president Gianni Infantino also suggested in March 2016.[6] A desire to increase the number of participants in the tournament from the previous 32 team format was announced on October 4, 2016. Four expansion options were considered:[7][8][9][10]

  • Expand to 40 teams (8 groups of 5 teams)—88 matches
  • Expand to 40 teams (10 groups of 4 teams)—76 matches
  • Expand to 48 teams (opening 32-team playoff round)—80 matches
  • Expand to 48 teams (16 groups of 3 teams)—80 matches

On January 10, 2017, the FIFA Council chose the fourth option and voted unanimously to expand to a 48-team tournament.[3] The tournament will open with a group stage consisting of 16 groups of three teams, with the top two teams progressing from each group to a knockout tournament starting with a round of 32 teams.[11] The number of games played overall will increase from 64 to 80, but the number of games played by finalists remains at seven, the same as with 32 teams. Each team will play one fewer group match than under the previous format, compensating for the additional knockout round. The tournament will also be completed within 32 days, the same as previous 32-team tournaments.[12]


The use of a three-team group stage with two teams progressing has been criticized for increasing the risk of collusion between teams, as seen in previous World Cup group matches such as the 1982 "Disgrace of Gijón".[13] FIFA's chief technical officer Marco van Basten has suggested that draws may be prevented during the group stage by the use of penalty shootouts.[14] This would mitigate the increased risk of collusion, but not by much, and would introduce the possibility of a team deciding to eliminate a rival by deliberately losing a penalty shootout.[13] In response to fears of collusion, CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani commented in April 2022 that FIFA was still considering 12 groups of 4.[15]

Host selection

The FIFA Council went back and forth between 2013 and 2017 on limitations within hosting rotation based on the continental confederations. Originally, it was set that bids to be host would not be allowed from countries belonging to confederations that hosted the two preceding tournaments. It was temporarily changed to only prohibit countries belonging to the confederation that hosted the previous World Cup from bidding to host the following tournament,[16] before the rule was changed back to its prior state of two World Cups. However, the FIFA Council did make an exception to potentially grant eligibility to member associations of the confederation of the second-to-last host of the FIFA World Cup in the event that none of the received bids fulfill the strict technical and financial requirements.[17][18] In March 2017, FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed that "Europe (UEFA) and Asia (AFC) are excluded from the bidding following the selection of Russia and Qatar in 2018 and 2022 respectively."[19] Therefore, the 2026 World Cup could be hosted by one of the remaining four confederations: CONCACAF (North America; last hosted in 1994), CAF (Africa; last hosted in 2010), CONMEBOL (South America; last hosted in 2014), or OFC (Oceania, never hosted before), or potentially by UEFA in case no bid from those four met the requirements.

Co-hosting the FIFA World Cup—which had been banned by FIFA after the 2002 World Cup—was approved for the 2026 World Cup, though not limited to a specific number but instead evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Also for 2026, the FIFA general secretariat, after consultation with the Competitions Committee, had the power to exclude bidders who did not meet the minimum technical requirements to host the competition.[17]

Canada, Mexico, and the United States had all publicly considered bidding for the tournament separately, but the United joint bid was announced on April 10, 2017.


The voting took place on June 13, 2018, during the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow, and it was reopened to all eligible members.[20] The United bid won receiving 134 valid ballots, while the Morocco bid received 65 valid ballots. Canada became the fifth country to host both men's and women's World Cup—the latter in 2015—Mexico became the first country to host three men's World Cups—previously in 1970 and 1986—and the United States became the first country to host both men's and women's World Cup twice each—having hosted the 1994 men's and the 1999 and 2003 women's World Cups.

Nation Vote
Round 1
Canada, Mexico, United States 134
Morocco 65
None of the bids 1
Abstentions 3
Total votes 200


The 2026 World Cup's qualification process has yet to be decided.[21][22][23]

The United Bid personnel anticipated that all three host countries would be awarded automatic berths.[24] Eventually, on August 31, 2022, during a visit to Guatemala, FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed six CONCACAF teams will qualify for the World Cup, including Canada, Mexico and the United States as hosts.[25][26] The FIFA Council is expected to approve all three hosts' automatic qualifications for the tournament.[21][23]


Slot allocation

On March 30, 2017, the Bureau of the FIFA Council (composed of the FIFA president and the presidents of each of the six confederations) proposed a slot allocation for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The recommendation was submitted for the ratification by the FIFA Council.[21][27]

On May 9, two days before the 67th FIFA Congress, the FIFA Council approved the slot allocation in a meeting in Manama, Bahrain. It includes an intercontinental playoff tournament involving six teams to decide the last two FIFA World Cup spots, making it a 13 spot in finals for a place in intercontinental play-offs.[28]

Confederation Eligible FIFA members Spots in 2026 finals
(including hosts and intercontinental playoff spots)
Percentage of members with spots in finals Spots in 2022 finals
(excluding hosts, including intercontinental playoff spots)
Change in percentage of slot allocation
AFC 46+1[a] 8+13 17.4%+0.7% 4.5 77.8%+7.4%
CAF 54 9+13 16.7%+0.6% 5 80.0%+6.7%
CONCACAF (hosts) 35 6+13 (+13) 17.1%+1.0% (+1.0%) 3.5 71.4%+9.5% (+9.5%)
CONMEBOL 10 6+13 60.0%+3.3% 4.5 33.3%+7.4%
OFC 11 1+13 9.1%+3.0% 0.5 100%+66.7%
UEFA 55 16 29.1% 13 23.1%
Total 211+1 48 22.7% 31 + 1 (hosts) 50%
  1. ^ The Northern Mariana Islands will be competing in World Cup qualification as it is used in joint qualification for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup

The issue of how to allocate automatic host country qualification given that there are multiple host countries has not yet been resolved and will be decided by the FIFA council.[21][28][22] The United bid anticipated that all three host countries would be awarded automatic places.[24]

The ratification of slot allocation gives the OFC a guaranteed berth in the final tournament for the first time in FIFA World Cup history. The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first tournament in which all six confederations have guaranteed berths.

Playoff tournament

A playoff tournament involving six teams will be held to decide the last two FIFA World Cup berths,[21] consisting of one team per confederation (except for UEFA) and one additional team from the confederation of the host countries (CONCACAF).

Two of the teams will be seeded based on the

FIFA Men's World Rankings; the seeded teams will play for a FIFA World Cup
berth against the winners of the first two knockout games involving the four unseeded teams.

The tournament is to be played in one or more of the host countries and to be used as a test event for the FIFA World Cup. The existing playoffs scheduled for November 2025 have been suggested as a tentative date for the 2026 edition.[citation needed]


During the bidding process, 41 cities with 43 existing, fully functional venues and two venues under construction submitted to be part of the bid (three venues in three cities in Mexico, nine venues in seven cities in Canada, and 38 venues in 34 cities in the United States). A first-round elimination cut nine venues and nine cities. A second-round elimination cut an additional nine venues in six cities, while three venues in three cities (Chicago, Minneapolis and Vancouver) dropped out due to FIFA's unwillingness to discuss financial details.[29] After Montreal dropped out in July 2021,[30] Vancouver then made the decision to re-participate, and was reinstated as a candidate city in April 2022,[31] bringing the total number to 24 venues, each in their own city or metropolitan area.

On June 16, 2022, the sixteen host cities were announced by FIFA, separated into three geographical divisions: Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Guadalajara in the Western Division; Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Monterrey, and Mexico City in the Central Division; and Toronto, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Miami in the Eastern Division (2 in Canada, 3 in Mexico, and 11 in the United States).[32] Eight of the sixteen chosen stadiums have permanent artificial turf surfaces that are planned to be replaced with grass under the direction of FIFA and a University of TennesseeMichigan State University research team. Five venues use retractable roof systems.[33]

Although there are

Foxborough, and Lumen Field in Seattle, that are used by both NFL and MLS teams.[35] Although primarily used for gridiron football, with the American stadiums having hosted National Football League teams, and Canada's stadiums hosting the Canadian Football League (CFL), all of the Canadian and American stadiums have been used on numerous occasions for soccer and are also designed to host that sport.[36]

Mexico City is the only capital of the three host nations chosen as a venue site, with

Orlando, and Edmonton. Ottawa's candidate venue, the TD Place Stadium, was eliminated early on due to insufficient capacity. None of the stadiums used in the 1994 World Cup will be used in this tournament, and the Azteca is the only stadium being used in this tournament that was used in the 1970 and 1986 World Cups.[37]

A dagger denotes a stadium used for previous men's World Cup tournaments.
A double-dagger denotes an indoor stadium with a fixed or
climate control
Mexico Mexico City[38] United States New York/New Jersey[38] United States Dallas[38] United States Kansas City[38] United States Houston[38]
Estadio Aztecadagger MetLife Stadium
(East Rutherford, New Jersey)
AT&T Stadiumdouble-dagger
(Arlington, Texas)
Arrowhead Stadium NRG Stadiumdouble-dagger
Capacity: 87,523 Capacity: 82,500
(Bid book capacity: 87,157)
Capacity: 80,000
(Bid book capacity: 92,967)
(expandable to 105,000)
Capacity: 76,416
(Bid book capacity: 76,640)
Capacity: 72,220
Soccer game at the Azteca Stadium.JPG
Copa America game between Columbia vs Peru at the MetLife Stadium.jpg
Cowboys stadium inside view 4.JPG
25 July 2010 Kansas City Wizards vs Manchester United friendly.jpg
United States Atlanta[38]
Los Angeles[38][39]
Mercedes-Benz Stadiumdouble-dagger SoFi Stadium
(Inglewood, California)
Capacity: 71,000
(Bid book capacity: 75,000)
(expandable to 83,000)
Capacity: 70,240
(expandable to 100,240)
2017 Orlando City at Atlanta United MLS Game.jpg
SoFi Stadium interior 2021.jpg
United States Philadelphia[38] United States Seattle[38]
Lincoln Financial Field Lumen Field
Capacity: 69,796
(Bid book capacity: 69,328)
Capacity: 69,000
(expandable to 72,000)
Philly (45).JPG
2022 CONCACAF Champions League Final - View from southeast corner at night.jpg
United States San Francisco Bay Area[38] United States Boston[38]
Levi's Stadium
(Santa Clara, California)
Gillette Stadium
(Foxborough, Massachusetts)
Capacity: 68,500
(Bid book capacity: 70,909)
(expandable to 75,000)
Capacity: 65,878
(Bid book capacity: 70,000)
Entering Levi's Stadium.JPG
Gillette Stadium (Top View).jpg
United States Miami[38] Canada Vancouver[31] Mexico Monterrey[38] Mexico Guadalajara[38] Canada Toronto[38]
Hard Rock Stadium
(Miami Gardens, Florida)
BC Placedouble-dagger Estadio BBVA
(Guadalupe, Nuevo León)
Zapopan, Jalisco
BMO Field
Capacity: 64,767
(Bid book capacity: 67,518)
Capacity: 54,500 Capacity: 53,500
(Bid book capacity: 53,460)
Capacity: 49,850
(Bid book capacity: 48,071)
Capacity: 30,000
(Expanding to 45,500 for tournament)
Hard Rock Stadium 2017 2.jpg
BC Place 2015 Women's FIFA World Cup.jpg
Estadio BBVA Bancomer - Diciembre 2017.jpg
Estadio Akron 02-07-2022 cabecera sur lado derecho.jpg
Bmo Field 2016 East Stand.jpg



Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (La Liga) president Javier Tebas agreed, asserting the unacceptability of the new format. He told Marca that the football industry is maintained thanks to clubs and leagues, not FIFA, and that Infantino had used the promise of more countries playing in the World Cup to win his election.[42] German national team coach Joachim Löw warned that expansion, as had occurred for Euro 2016, would dilute the value of the world tournament because players have already reached their physical and mental limit.[43]

U.S. President Donald Trump's executive orders regarding immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries implemented in 2017 was touted as a potential risk, with Infantino saying, "Any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup."[44] In response, the Trump administration sent letters to FIFA that read, in part, that Trump was "confident" that "all eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination."[45] In 2018, Trump then questioned the countries that intended to support the Morocco bid to host the 2026 World Cup, tweeting: "The US has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us (including at the United Nations)?"[46] In January 2021, the travel ban was reversed by his successor Joe Biden.[47]

In March 2022, Liga MX president Mikel Arriola claimed Mexico's involvement as cohost could have been at risk if the league and the federation had not responded quickly to the Querétaro–Atlas riot between rival fans that left 26 spectators injured and resulted in 14 arrests. Arriola said FIFA was "shocked" by the incident but Infantino was satisfied with the sanctions handed down against Querétaro.[48]

Broadcasting rights

On February 12, 2015, FIFA renewed Fox, Telemundo, and Bell Media's broadcasting rights contract to cover 2026, without accepting any other bids. The New York Times believed that this extension was intended as compensation for the rescheduling of the 2022 World Cup to November–December rather than its traditional June–July scheduling, as it creates considerable conflicts with major professional sports leagues that are normally in their off-season during the World Cup.[57][58][59]


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External links