While NAFTA may be a distant memory in 2026, moments ago the NAFTA nations of US, Canada and Mexico won the right to host the 2026 football World Cup, marking the first time the tournament will be hosted by three countries, and overcoming reluctance in some countries to hand the prize to American President Donald Trump, according to the FT.
The joint North American bid, dubbed “United 2026,” (and also dubbed the NAFTA Cup) defeated Morocco in the race to hold one of the world’s biggest sporting events, following a vote on Wednesday by more than 200 member nations of FIFA.
As the NYT reports, during the public ballot held at FIFAs annual congress meeting in Moscow - just one day before the opening match of this year’s World Cup in Russia - members voted 134-65 in support of the joint North American bid.
That said, the decision is hardly a major surprise as the so-called "United" bid was considered a strong favorite after promising $11bn in profits to Fifa, far more than any previous World Cup. In other words, another quid-pro-quo, most of which will be financed with the issuance of US Treasuries. The
bribe pledge was more than double the $5bn in profits offered by Morocco.
As the FT further adds, an inspection task force released its long-awaited technical assessments on the two bids, and rated the North American bid highly, as all the infrastructure to hold the event is already in place. The inspectors judged Morocco to be a far riskier proposition since the country plans to build nine new stadiums and must renovate existing ones to host the event.
The US will hold the vast majority of matches, including the final.
Even so, the decision was not without its controversies, and in the run up to the vote, Fifa officials and others close to the process said they were concerned that attitudes towards Donald Trump were having an effect on how nations intended to vote, particularly those in Africa who resented the president’s description of them as “shithole countries”.