Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Blatter will be at the World Cup as a guest of Putin

Blatter will be at the World Cup as a guest of Putin

On Wednesday in Moscow, the trio bid of the United States, Mexico and Canada beat Morocco in a vote to earn the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup. "Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege, the privilege of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026", an emotional US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said on stage after the vote. "Football today is the only victor".

The tournament will be played across 11 cities in 12 stadiums and the opening game takes place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow between hosts Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia on the June 14. Instead of a small executive committee making the decision, this time it was done by a vote of FIFA's over 200 member nations. Mexico hosted the World Cup in 1986; Canada never has.

The 2026 World Cup will look a whole lot different that previous iterations of the tournament, thanks to the fact that it will be hosted by three countries - the United States, Mexico and Canada - and expanded to 48 teams for the first time. It will be the first time since 1994 that the US will have hosted the monthlong soccer extravaganza, and will come two years before Los Angeles welcomes back the 2028 Summer Olympics.

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Will the United States, Mexico and Canada all get automatic bids? "There is no doubt that World Cup 2026 will elevate the sport of soccer to entirely new levels and Major League Soccer is honored to be a part of this joyous day". 60 matches will take place in the U.S. with the remaining 20 split evenly between Canada and Mexico.

"I wanted to underline FIFA's commitment to the principle of sports without politics", Putin said during a FIFA Congress in Moscow while standing next to the World Cup trophy. As a host country, Canada will be allowed to play in the 2026 games. The U.S. government's ongoing investigation into corruption in global soccer rattled FIFA's old guard in its halls of power.

If we're spitballing, it's hard to imagine the United States being forced to qualify for a World Cup in which it's the predominant host.

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"We cast our vote for the "United" bid as we believe the independent technical assessment made its advantages very clear".

While Morocco had some key factors in its favour - its much more friendly time-zone for the key TV markets of Europe, its footballing culture and potential tournament legacy - on infrastructural and financial fronts, the United bid blew it out of the water.

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