Los Angeles was among 25 U.S. cities selected Wednesday as possible host sites for the 2026 World Cup. The soccer federations of the U.S., Mexico and Canada have joined forces to present a united bid to stage soccer's world championship in the three North American countries, the first time a three-nation bid has been considered by FIFA, the governing body for international soccer. Morocco is the only other country to have submitted a bid. The winner is expected to be announced in June 2018. Southern California sites that have received consideration include the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where the 1994 World Cup final was played; the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which has played host to two Olympics; and the football stadium under construction in Inglewood.
Months after the completion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, all eyes are on Qatar as it prepares to host football's mega event in 2022. The tiny Gulf nation will be the first from the Arab world to host the World Cup, breaking with tradition with a winter kick-off as it looks to avoid the scorching summer heat. FIFA President Gianni Infantino hailed Qatar's progress on infrastructure during a visit to its capital, Doha, on Tuesday, after inspecting the eight stadiums and several training sites that will be used for the month-long tournament. "You can see the progress which is being made here four years before kick-off," Infantino said after a tour of the Al Wakrah stadium, a 40,000 capacity venue that will host matches up to the quarter-finals stage. "The Russian World Cup was the best ever, and the World Cup in 2022 has to be even better," he said.
Morocco presented its bid book to FIFA on Friday and is the only rival to a joint bid from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. There's intrigue around a process that could see FIFA disqualify a bid before the June vote if it can't meet the requirements for the first World Cup after the leap from 32 to 48 competing teams. Up to 207 of the 211 member federations will vote on June 13 in Moscow, with the four bidding members excluded. In aiming for transparency, FIFA's pledge to publish the choice of each member could affect the voting. The secret ballot in presidential elections allows members to vote freely and defy orders from regional or continental leaders.
In an area of the United States brimming with high-class sporting action this weekend, Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, was the scene for a vibrant display of what soccer has to offer. Sandwiched between NBA Finals games hosted by the Golden State Warriors and Stanley Cup Final games at the home of the San Jose Sharks, the biggest soccer event to hit the U.S. in more than two decades kicked off to a wave of color. Even before the opening game of the Copa America Centenario between the U.S. and Colombia got underway on a balmy Friday evening, it was clear that the event was an international festival. Packing the trains to the stadium from across the Bay Area was a mingling of fans wearing the stars and stripes of the U.S. and the unmistakable yellow, red and blue of Colombia. Once they finally entered the stadium and took their seats, in a sellout crowd of 67,439, it was apparent that this was a home match for the U.S. in name only.
When the NFL announced Tuesday the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls would be awarded to Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles, respectively, it failed to generate much surprise in the football and marketing communities. NFL owners, after all, were sticking to a strategy that has served them well in the past half century by keeping their biggest money-making event in warm-weather cities or in new or refurbished stadiums or domes. A world-class venue plays perhaps the most vital role in getting the winning bid, and the new round of winners are all in warm cities for the February event and also have new or refurbished stadiums to show off. The Atlanta Falcons open their stadium next year, and the Los Angeles Rams should have their new home in 2019. Meanwhile, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross recently spent approximately 450 million of his own money on stadium renovations for New Miami Stadium.