Fifa lays out its blueprint for a sprawling 2026 World Cup

FIFA on Thursday (Jun 16) began unveiling plans for a sprawling, 3-nation men's World Cup in 2026 by announcing the host cities for soccer's biggest-ever championship. The tournament, to be hosted jointly by the United States, Mexico and Canada, will be the first to have 48 teams, an increase from the current 32, and take place in cities up and down and across North America.

The choices, 16 cities selected from a list of 22 finalists, were revealed in 3 regional groupings, blocs representing the East, Central and West regions.

The winning bidders included legendary soccer venues such as Mexico City's Estadio Azteca, which has hosted 2 World Cup Finals; metropolitan areas with previous World Cup hosting experience such as Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Dallas, and Guadalajara, Mexico; and newcomers such as Toronto, Philadelphia and Seattle.

The Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, California, which hosted the 1994 World Cup final, was left out, as was a combined bid representing Baltimore and Washington, DC, meaning the United States capital will not play a role in its biggest sporting event in 2026.

The bulk of the games will be played in the United States, following an agreement made by the 3 countries' federations when they bid in 2017, and confirmed by Fifa's choices. Of the 16 cities chosen, 11 were in the United States, 3 in Mexico and 2 - Vancouver and Toronto - in Canada. NYTIMES

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