U.S. to host 2026 World Cup, with neighbors

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By: Alex Crescenti | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 13, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Atlanta, Orlando and Miami all have a chance at hosting World Cup games eight years from now.

"I remember growing up in South Florida in 1994 and watching the World Cup and the impact it had on me," said Chris Petley, the Tallahassee Soccer Club President.

He says the 2026 World Cup will have a huge impact on the country, even though it will be 32 years since the last one was played here.

"It really was unbelievable, something that the Americans had seen for the first time, but...we're a different country, especially when it comes to soccer right now," he added.

In the expanded format of the tournament there will be 48 teams and 80 games, something that could bring in a huge economic opportunity to many cities across the country, and that includes two in Florida.

"We will definitely be doubling down, this is huge news for the state of Florida. Soccer is the number one sport in the world, Florida is the number one destination in the world, sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn't it?" said Nelson Mongiovi, the Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Florida.

Many of those in charge of looking at the financial gains are ecstatic about the chance to be a fan.

"It's exciting to have the opportunity to maybe take my family or bring family from outside here and see the game," said Vania Vustamante, the Communications Coordinator for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

For Petley, he says he hopes his family can land tickets to a game, wherever it may be, to be apart of one of the biggest events in the world.

"The World Cup is watched by billions of people throughout the world and I think it's an opportunity to participate in something on a scale of that level, it just gives you chills," said Petley.

There is still plenty of time between now and the 2026 World Cup. The last time the United States hosted it drew the highest average attendance ever.

By: CBS News
June 13, 2018

MOSCOW -- North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament.

The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday.

The vote by football federations was public, in contrast to secrecy surrounding the ballot by FIFA's elected board members for the 2018 and 2022 hosts, Russia and Qatar, in 2010.

The U.S. proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games in 2026, when 16 teams will be added to the finals, leaving Canada and Mexico with ten fixtures each.

An optimistic promise of delivering $14 billion in revenue helped sway voters, along with the lack of major construction work required on the 16 planned stadiums, all of which already exist.

By contrast, Morocco appeared too hazardous as a potential host when all 14 venues had to be built or renovated as part of a $16 billion investment in new infrastructure. The vote leaves Morocco reeling from a fifth failure in a World Cup hosting vote, with the continent's sole tournament coming in 2010 in South Africa.

While Morocco's combined tickets and hospitality revenue would be $1.07 billion, according to FIFA analysis, North America would generate $2 billion additional income.

Canada will host men's World Cup matches for the first time, while Mexico gets its first taste of the event since staging the entire event in 1986.

The 87,000-capacity MetLife Stadium outside New York is proposed for the final. It's just miles from where federal prosecutors spearheaded an ongoing investigation into FIFA corruption. More than 40 soccer officials and businesses indicted, convicted or pleaded guilty.

The bribery scandal put the governing body on the brink, FIFA President Gianni Infantino told the congress ahead of Wednesday's vote.

"FIFA was clinically dead as an organization," Infantino said, reflecting on his election in 2016. "Two years later, FIFA is alive and well, full of joy and passion and with a vision for its future."

The North American victory suggests football officials are ready to gather for a World Cup in a country whose government has demonstrated its willingness to jail corrupt sports leaders through undercover investigations.

The North America bid also had to overcome concerns about the impact of policies from the Trump administration, including attempts to implement a ban on travel by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

The main intervention by President Donald Trump was a warning in a White House news conference, discussing the FIFA vote, that he would be "watching very closely." It was a veiled threat to withhold U.S. support from countries opposing the bid.

FIFA now has the final say on which cities are selected to host games and whether all three countries are guaranteed a place at the tournament. Victor Montagliani, the Canadian who leads CONCACAF, wants them to take three of the six qualification slots reserved for the region.

There is also a chance to send a seventh team via an inter-continental playoff. North America will host the six-team playoff tournament in November 2025 to decide the last two places in the 48-team lineup.