Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Federation Internationale de Football Association president says to encourage co-hosting for 2026 World Cup

FIFA President Gianni Infantino FIFA President Gianni Infantino
Melinda Barton | 17 February, 2017, 01:49

Speaking in Qatar following a Federation Internationale de Football Association executive summit meeting on Thursday, Infantino said that the chance to put in a joint bid for future tournaments opened up the possibility of hosting the tournament to more countries. We will certainly encourage it. He is hoping that the countries will have common boundaries or at least be close to one another so that the supporters won't have any difficulties to travel from one game to another.

His remarks could lead to a joint bid from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which have already said they intend to discuss the possibility.

At the end of past year, Victor Montagliani, president of the Concacaf federation that the three countries belong to, said he expected formal discussions to start once "all the rules and regulations" related to the bid were announced.

The only other World Cup that's been co-hosted was the 2002 tournament held in Japan and South Korea, and that was largely deemed a resounding success.

In Europe, the concept has been around for years, with Belgium and the Netherlands co-hosting in 2000, Austria and Switzerland in 2008 and Poland and Ukraine in 2012.

Infantino also added that he meant to push for co-hosting at the 2026 World Cup that could bring together several countries working together. He talked about the opportunity to bring more countries together in order to create and open the gates to a bigger sports event, so there can be also a tourism and economic aspects of the most important tournament of the world.

But there is likely to be opposition from fans' groups, given the higher costs involved in following a team through different countries. But the idea of wanting multiple countries makes more sense in 2026 with the cup expanding for the first time to 48 teams.

The FIFA president, who succeeded the disgraced Sepp Blatter 12 months ago, also brushed off concerns about the potential for fan violence at the next World Cup, after Russian supporters were accused of sparking significant issues at Euro 2016 in France.

The comments came ahead of the broadcast of a television documentary in Britain on February 16 in which hard-line Russian fans are said to have threatened English fans who attend the World Cup.