World's Biggest Sports Event Will Return to North America

The 2026 World Cup is officially coming to the United States, Mexico and Canada, and a joint statement Wednesday indicates Denver will push to host matches in the quadrennial global soccer tournament.

The joint bid won 134 votes (67%) out of the 203 entitled to vote with Morocco bagging 65 (33%) when voting took place in Moscow on Wednesday, a day ahead of the Russia World Cup 2018.

The United States proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games at the 2026 World Cup, the first edition of the tournament that will include 48 teams.

The USA already possesses the sufficient requirements of world-class stadia and worldwide airports to host the tournament and can boast that when they hosted the World Cup in 1994 they set a record for crowds.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set aside a simmering trade dispute with Washington to welcome the news and predict the 2026 World Cup would be a "great tournament".

Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from NY, said: "While the official name of the bid is United 2026, the three potential host nations are right now anything but united".

To cut down on travel, the US -led bid proposed having teams play all their games in the same regional areas. Canada has never hosted the World Cup.

The North American bid had been the favorite.

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Wednesday's vote, conducted during the Fifa Congress at Moscow's expo centre, provided a much-needed victory for American football, which is in the process of rebuilding the men's programme in the wake of last fall's failure to qualify for this summer's World Cup in Russian Federation.

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Bid leaders say 5.8m tickets sold could generate more than $2bn, while hospitality takings could be 150 per cent higher than the baseline figure anticipated for Russian Federation this summer. President Trump promised athletes would be able to enter the U.S. "without discrimination" ahead of the decision, per CNN.

The "United Bid" projected that its tournament would generate more than $5 billion in short-term economic activity, including the creation of 40,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in incremental worker earnings. Before the vote, some had suggested that a "Trump effect" was harming the United States' chances, saying the president's quarrels internationally were putting off some countries.

The bid victory will also stack the United States sports landscape with major competitions in perhaps three consecutive years. "Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us", had a major effect on the eleven African countries that refused to vote for Morocco's bid.

It's unclear at the moment how travel will shake out and how far teams will have to travel for matches. The only other time multiple countries shared the World Cup was 2002, when Japan and South Korea were given passes into the competition.

Regardless of the political disputes, the joint proposal envisages the tournament's coming to 16 cities across the three countries, the largest for any World Cup, with likely three cities each in Mexico and Canada and 10 in the United States. The finalists will still play seven games.

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