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FIFA wants the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to play nice again

"Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege.”

by David Gilbert
Jun 13 2018, 12:15pm

Getty Images

The U.S. has eight years to repair its strained relations with Mexico and Canada, as the three countries were selected Wednesday to be joint hosts for the 2026 soccer World Cup.

A ballot resulted in the joint North American bid winning two-thirds (134) of the 199 votes cast by the members of soccer’s world governing body FIFA. The only other bid came from Morocco, which secured 65 votes. Ghana did not vote due to corruption allegations.

The vote took place in Moscow — a day ahead of the kickoff of this year’s tournament.

While Mexico is participating in Russia, neither the U.S. nor Canada qualified. Securing the bid will mean all three nations automatically qualify for the 2026 event, which will be expanded to 48 teams for the first time.

“Thank you so, so much for this incredible honor. Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege,” U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said on hearing the news. “We are all united in football. The beautiful game transcends borders and cultures. Football today is the only victor.”

FIFA changed the voting process for the 2026 World Cup after allegations of corruption that saw Qatar land the right to host the tournament in 2022, despite the crippling summer temperatures being unsuitable for sport.

Voting power was removed from a small cabal of FIFA executives and given to the member nations. However, money still plays a part, with the North American bid promising the various associations a share in vast $11 billion profits compared to just $6 billion from Morocco.

READ: Mexico's biggest soccer legend accused by the U.S. of laundering drug money

In its final presentation to FIFA members, Morocco took a swipe at its rivals, saying it would not hike up ticket prices to increase profits and pointed out that the country had a ban on guns.

Cover image: The trophy of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia during the 68th FIFA Congress at the Expocentre. (Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images)