FIFA has unveiled the host cities for the 2026 World Cup ? with the US capital missing out on its bid
Soccer fans in Washington DC were left disappointed after the city was shunned by FIFA in its announcement of host venues for the 2026 World Cup, which will be jointly held by the US, Canada and Mexico.
The 16 venues for the quadrennial soccer showpiece (or football, depending on your linguistic preference) were unveiled on Thursday, with unfortunate news for those backing a bid for the Washington DC/Baltimore area to be given matches.
Instead, the American capital was overlooked in favor of the likes of Boston and Kansas City, while more obvious contenders such as New York/New Jersey and Los Angeles were confirmed as making the cut.
The news for the DC/Baltimore bid makes it the third time that a World Cup has shunned a capital, after Japanese metropolis Tokyo and West Germany’s Bonn were not part of the action in 2002 and 1974 respectively.
Those gathering in anticipation of a DC/Baltimore celebration were described as being in “absolute shock” at Thursday’s announcement.
Washington DC and Baltimore had decided to combine their bids in recent months due to limited stadiums of the necessary quality in the region, and were hoping to see action at NFL venue the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore after FedEx Field just outside the capital was dropped as a potential site.
“This was a very, very difficult choice,” Colin Smith, FIFA’s chief tournaments and events officer, told The Washington Post on Thursday.
“It’s hard to imagine – you can’t imagine a World Cup coming to the US and the capital city not taking a major role as well.”
The US will be hosting the men’s World Cup for the second time in its history, following the 1994 edition which was won by Brazil.
Mexico welcomed the tournament in 1970 and 1984, while Canada has never hosted matches before.
The shared duties in 2026 will mark the first time three countries have jointly held the tournament.
US cities will assume the bulk of the matches for the 2026 edition, which will be the first time it is expanded to 48 teams, meaning 80 games in total.
America was granted 11 total venues, with Mexico getting three, including its capital, and Canada being granted two.
Canadian capital Ottawa had not been under consideration, although Edmonton missed out after putting itself forward.
It is yet to be determined where the tournament will open and close.
The 2018 World Cup held in Russia was widely praised as among the best – if not the best – editions of the tournament.
This year’s version will be held in Qatar in November-December, marking the first time it has shifted from its traditional ‘summer’ slot do to the searing heat in the Gulf state.