In a show of support for the 3-country North American World Cup co-hosting bid submitted jointly by the United States, Mexico, and Canada, FIFA has voted to fast-track the approval process.

Competing bids now face narrow window

The bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup between the three countries was submitted to FIFA in April. With Thursday’s vote to fast-track the process, FIFA has set an August 11th deadline for any competing bids to be submitted. Potential rumored bids from countries such as Australia and Morocco will likely be pushed back to a more competitive process for the 2030 tournament, as the 3-country North American bid looks like a slam dunk from FIFA’s perspective.

The approval time-line for the 2026 tournament was originally expected to take another two to three years, but with the vote to fast-track, chances are extremely high that the U.S., Mexico and Canada can get to work charting out the details of their co-hosting plans. Final approval for the co-hosting bid is now expected to come before next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Successful hosts in the past

North America has hosted the World Cup successfully in the past. Mexico hosted the 1986 tournament, a memorable tournament dominated by the legendary Diego Maradona who led Argentina to their second world crown. The United States hosted the 1994 tournament, which still boasts record-setting attendance at games.

The 1994 tournament concluded at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where Brazil defeated Italy to take the fourth of their now-five world championships.

Adding to the likelyhood that few competitive bids will challenge the North American plan is the fact that Europe and Asia are not allowed to host the tournament so soon after recent stagings.

With Russia hosting next year's tournament, and Qatar slated to host in 2022, those continents must wait until beyond 2026 to submit hosting bids again

Although the details of the three countries’ co-hosting duties are still being worked out, it is expected that Mexico and Canada will each host 10 games, including their countries' home games in the early group stage, and that the United States will host the majority of the games, including the final knock-out stages. With the 2026 tournament expanding from a 32-team tournament to 48 teams, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that any other hosting bids will knock the US/Mexico/Canada plans off track.