North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament.

The football showpiece will return to the US for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday.

All three host nations are expected to be given a free pass to the tournament’s group stages, though this has yet to be confirmed by FIFA.

Mexico are the only one of the three to have secured passage to this summer’s edition while Canada have never even scored a World Cup goal.  

The vote by football federations was public, in contrast to secrecy surrounding the ballot by FIFA’s elected board members for the 2018 and 2022 hosts, Russia and Qatar, in 2010. 

The US proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games in 2026, when 16 teams will be added to the finals, leaving Canada and Mexico with 10 fixtures each. The US is set to host all games from the quarter-finals onward.

‘Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026,’ Carlos Cordiero, president of the US Soccer Federation told Congress.

‘Football today is the only winner.

The North America bid also had to overcome concerns about the impact of policies from the Trump administration, including attempts to implement a ban on travel by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

The main intervention by President Donald Trump was a warning in a White House news conference, discussing the FIFA vote, that he would be ‘watching very closely.’ It was a veiled threat to withhold US support from countries opposing the bid.

FIFA now has the final say on which cities are selected to host games and whether all three countries are guaranteed a place at the tournament. Victor Montagliani, the Canadian who leads CONCACAF, wants them to take three of the six qualification slots reserved for the region.

There is also a chance to send a seventh team via an inter-continental playoff. North America will host the six-team playoff tournament in November 2025 to decide the last two places in the 48-team lineup. 

Source