US, Mexico, Canada may co-host 2026 Cup

Jan 13, 2017, 00:22

And while Kerr outlined his reasons for being against expanding the tournament, the former St Patrick's Athletic boss was also critical of the proposed format of future World Cup, where three-team groups will feature, while drawn group games will be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

In a deeply divisive move which will enrich scandal-tainted FIFA's coffers, its ruling council unanimously adopted an expanded format with 16 groups of three nations that will bring "benefits without negatives", said Infantino.

The decision marks a major coup for the bodys president Gianni Infantino who has made enlarging footballs showcase event the centrepiece of his young administration. "In some regions, not only does co-hosting make more sense, it's the only sense, because it's not just the 48 teams, it's the training facilities, it's all the other infrastructure that's required".

The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, but the eventual winners will still play only seven games. Certainly, Mexico and Canada would seek automatic places if they stage the 2026 World Cup jointly with the US. And if there is going to be an increase in numbers, it is probably Africa and Asia who will get the biggest increase.

Many critics have rounded on the decision, complaining it will dilute the quality of the World Cup and saying it was driven by hunger for profits and political gain.

The main limitation will be the choice of host countries, with the winning bid to be revealed in May 2020, taking into account FIFA's rotation principle - it said in October the hosts of the 2026 edition would come from different confederations to those hosting the 2018 and 2022 events, effectively excluding Europe (Russia) and Asia (Qatar).

The distribution of the extra places will be decided before May but senior Federation Internationale de Football Association members have told The Times of London that a consensus has emerged that would result in Europe having 16 places instead of 13.

The FIFA Council confirmed on Tuesday that the expanded competition will take effect from 2026 onwards.

The president of the Asian Football Confederation has backed England to host the World Cup in 2030.

"It was meant to be the final phase after two years of qualifying with the 32 best teams in the world from their respective continents".

South America has been focused on a centenary tournament including original 1930 host Uruguay, and African nations are seen as lacking existing capacity and unlikely to fund multi-billion dollar infrastructure spending.

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