Canada, Mexico and U.S to make joint bid for 2026 FIFA World Cup
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Canadian Victor Montagliani has already earned his place at world soccer's inner circle.
Now the FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF president is looking to help bring soccer biggest prize to Canada, U.S. and Mexico.
Soccer officials from the three countries have scheduled a news conference for Monday in New York where they will announce a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup, according to a source.
Press releases from CONCACAF and the soccer governing bodies promised a "historic announcement."
Talk of a joint CONCACAF bid for the next available World Cup has been in the air for months with Montagliani, the outgoing president of the Canadian Soccer Association, leading the way for the confederation that represents North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The 2018 men's World Cup is set for Russia with the 2022 tournament headed to Qatar.
The 2026 tournament will be the first of the expanded format.
The FIFA Council agreed in January to expand the current the 32-country tournament to 48 teams split into 16 groups of three. The top two teams from each group will then advance to a 32-team knockout stage.
'It's time time for Canada to step up'
Bidding for the 2026 tournament has long been part of Montagliani's vision.
"We're the only G-8 nation to not host the World Cup," Montagliani said in January 2014 in releasing the CSA's 2014-18 strategic plan. ""We've hosted almost every other event ... I think it's time for Canada to step up to the plate."
During his 2016 campaign for the CONCACAF presidency, Montagliani talked about a "collaborative strategy" to bring the 2026 World Cup to CONCACAF with Canada having already indicated it would put up its hand.
Canada is coming off hosting the 2015 Women's World Cup, deemed a success on and off the field. It has also hosted the 2014 U-20 Women's World Cup, the 2007 U-020 Men's World Cup, and the 1997 U-16 Men's World Cup (now a U-17 event)
CONCACAF hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986 (both Mexico) and 1994 (U.S.).
When 2026 comes round, there will have been 32 years and seven World Cups since the 1994 one held in the U.S. with Europe (3), Asia (2), Africa (1) and South America (1) having served as host. CONCACAF will argue its time has come.
It will also no doubt make the case that a joint bid allows for more resources to host the expanded tournament.
The FIFA Council has already agreed on a four-phase process for bidding for the 2026 tournament. It is expected to confirm the bid rules at its May 11 congress in Bahrain.
A decision on the successful 2026 bidder is expected in May 2020.
FIFA has already agreed that UEFA and Asian confederation members should not bid for 2026, given Russia is hosting in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
Canada has only ever qualified for one men's World Cup — in 1986.
Montagliani and CONCACAF officials were in Aruba on Saturday at the confederation's annual congress.