By Kevin Baxter
U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati will join his counterparts from the Mexican and Canadian federations on Monday for what is expected to be an announcement detailing plans for a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
Gulati will appear with Canada’s Victor Montagliani and Mexico’s Decio de Maria at a news conference Monday morning in New York.
“Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are aiming for a joint bid, the idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” Montagliani told the Guardian newspaper last week. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it, and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together.”
The formal bidding process will begin later this year but will not conclude until 2020.
However a bid from CONCACAF — the confederation incorporating North and Central America and the Caribbean, which Montagliani also heads — would have a good chance at success since the region has not played host to a World Cup since in 1994.
The U.S. staged the tournament that year, and it remains the most successful and profitable in World Cup history. The U.S. was also favored to win the rights for the 2022 event, which eventually went to Qatar following an election process tainted by charges of bribery and corruption.
Mexico has put on two World Cups, the last in 1986, while Canada was site of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
A joint tournament would mark the second time countries have shared the hosting duties. In 2002, the World Cup was split between Japan and South Korea.
The 2026 World Cup will be the largest in history, with the field expanding to 48 teams.
*This article was originally published in the Los Angeles Times