Monday, June 17, 2024

Mexico, US and Canada officially assume organization of FIFA World Cup 2026

Mexico, the United States and Canada officially assumed the planning of the FIFA 2026 World Cup at a handover ceremony in Qatar on Sunday.

The diplomatic ceremony, which was organized by Qatari Ambassador to the United Nations Sheikha Alya Al Thani, was held prior to the final match between France and Argentina (which saw Argentina win the World Cup).

Representing Mexico was Alfonso Zegbe, coordinator of the Mexican Government Strategy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On behalf of the U.S. there was Linda Greenfield, ambassador to the United Nations. And in the name of Canada there was Omar Alghabra, the country’s transport minister.

Three mariachi hats decorated with the colors of each 2026 host country, in the desert of Qatar with camels and rocks in the background.
To celebrate, Mexican foreign affairs official Alfonso Zegbe shared an image of mariachi hats decorated with the colors of each 2026 host country, in the desert of Qatar. (Twitter @ALFZEGBE)

During the ceremony, Sheikha Alya said to attendants that the most important takeaway of the World Cup is that it “transcends things and it plays an exceptional role in uniting people and countries and creating lasting friendships.”

In a statement published on Monday, the Mexican government recognized the strategic importance of being a host of the next World Cup, as it positions Mexico as a “geopolitical global actor” while consolidating itself as one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

The statement also said that the 2026 World Cup is an opportunity “to promote a renewed and strengthened image” of Mexico.

North America 2026 will be the first time a World Cup will happen in three countries. It will also be the first time the number of competing teams will change. From 32 it will increase to 46 as a result of geopolitical changing conditions which require a broader inclusion of the international community, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The tournament will be played in 16 cities: 11 in the U.S., three in Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey) and two in Canada.

In Mexico, the games will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey. The U.S. host cities will be Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, a New Jersey suburb of New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. In Canada, Vancouver and Toronto will also host games.

Mexico is set to become the only country to have hosted three World Cups (1968, 1986 and 2026), and Azteca Stadium will be the only venue in history to hold three World Cup opening ceremonies.

With reports from Business Standard and NBC Sports

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