Canada to Co-host 2026 FIFA World Cup

The biggest, most watched and most popular sporting event on the planet is finally coming to Canada.

 

In a historic FIFA vote held in Moscow the day before the current FIFA World Cup began, the “United Bid” of Canada, Mexico and the United States beat out Morocco to win the right to co-host the 2026 Men’s FIFA World Cup, marking the first time that international soccer’s marquee event will touch down on Canadian soil.

Remember, Canada had previously hosted the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, however, in terms of importance, spotlight and cold hard cash generated, the men’s version of the tournament is quite another step.

The “United Bid” won the vote 134-65 over Morocco during a specially convened congressional FIFA meeting where every single member nation of FIFA, excluding the four potential host countries, cast a ballot.

Canada Soccer and its Leadership Absolutely Delighted

Canada Soccer and its Leadership Absolutely Delighted

“Hosting a FIFA World Cup is an extraordinary honor and privilege,” Steven Reed, President of Canada Soccer, said in a statement.

“Canada, Mexico, and the United States are ready to welcome the world to North America and serve as stewards of the largest FIFA World Cup in history. Our vision is of a world of opportunity for our Candidate host cities and for the global football community.” Mr Reed added.

It will take a while for the enormity of the decision to sink in and one thing is for certain. Soccer in Canada will never be the same again.

It’s an absolute water-shed moment for the sport of Soccer in this country with current Canadian Men’s Head Coach, John Herdman, utterly delirious about the World Cup coming to Canada.

“It’s officially football Christmas for Canada,” Herdman told reporters during his official press conference in Toronto to celebrate the FIFA announcement.

Anti-Trump Vote Doesn’t Eventuate

It had been feared before the FIFA vote that anti-U.S. sentiment around the world, fueled by reactions to controversial US President Donald Trump, would hurt the “United Bid” of Mexico, the US and Canada. However, in the end, it did not seem to develop as a factor (win or lose the next US Presidential election, Trump will be long gone by 2026), as the “United Bid” more than doubled the vote count of Morocco.

Mexico hosted the World Cup previously in 1970 and as a last-minute replacement for Colombia in 1986. The United States staged Soccer’s greatest showpiece tournament in 1994. Canada has never held the elite FIFA Men’s competition, but it did host the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

The World Cup will Grow Soccer in Canada

By winning the FIFA vote and the right to host the World Cup, hope has now been offered that this decision could lead to an entirely new generation of Canadian youngsters taking up the sport, which could have long-term benefits for the men’s team. Canada’s only previous World Cup appearance came in 1986 in Mexico, where Team Canada lost all three of its games and crashed out of the tournament in the first round.

Former Canadian international player and now TSN soccer commentator, Jason de Vos, spoke in glowing terms of the possibilities the World Cup will create in helping to grow the game in Canada;

“The possibility of hosting the World Cup in Canada would be an absolute game-changing event for the sport in this country,” deVos said.

“I go back all the way to growing up in London (Ontario) and my start in the game. Everything I went through as a player over the years – the ups and downs, the heartache, the injuries, the disappointments, the bouncing back from really hard times – it was all for that jersey. It was all for wearing that jersey, to represent my country and get us to a World Cup.”

“If we get to host in 2026, that’s the realization of a lifelong dream, to get back to the World Cup, and to give kids that opportunity to be inspired like I was in 1986”, Jason added.

Will Canada Qualify Automatically as a World Cup Host?

Historically, World Cup host nations have always qualified automatically for the World Cup and in the World Cup’s past they haven’t been forced to play games in order to qualify for the tournament.

However, FIFA had already previously ruled that should the “United bid” beat out Morocco and win the hosting rights to 2026, the number of host countries to automatically qualify would be decided by another vote by Soccer’s governing body sometime in the future.

What is known for sure is that the 2026 World Cup will expand to 48 qualified teams from the current 32. The new World Cup format will feature 16 round-robin groups of three teams, with the top two from each pool advancing to a stand-alone 32 nation knockout round. The tournament will still take place over the current 32 days.

Where will the Host Cities be in Canada?

Sixteen North American host cites have been proposed by the ‘United Bid’, and the Canadian sites are Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton. Games could be played at BMO Field in Toronto, the Olympic Stadium in Montreal and Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.

However, even though the ‘United Bid’ has been accepted by FIFA, it doesn’t automatically mean Canada is guaranteed 10 games in those three candidate cities come 2026. Canada’s allotment could potentially be reduced as the FIFA council (a 30-plus-member board of Soccer administrators) has the final say on the number of games each of the countries receives and the specific city locations and stadiums.

Soccer Betting in Canada

Soccer Betting in Canada

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