The Guardian spoke with CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, who confirmed what has long been speculated: the U.S., Mexico, and Canada plan on submitting a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
Here’s Montagliani, who also serves as the president of the Canada Soccer Association and who won the election for CONCACAF’s top job last year, explaining the thinking:
“Canada, the US and Mexico are aiming for a joint bid, the idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” Montagliani said. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together.”
Montagliani said the three countries plan to make a final determination on whether to go ahead with the bid later this year. The bidding process opens this June and closes in December of 2018, and FIFA’s announcement of who will host that World Cup in May of 2020.
The bid comes at something of a strange time for the neighboring nations, with one of president Trump’s main campaign platforms being his desire to agitate U.S.-Mexico relations as much as possible. The thinking must be that Trump’s rise notwithstanding, America and Mexico have had and in the future will continue to have an open and mutually beneficial relationship.
Unless Trump really does succeed at becoming America’s dictator, in a decade’s time we’ll hopefully look back at this period as a brief, dark hiccup in an otherwise fruitful partnership between America and Mexico, and we’ll watch in joy as Christian Pulisic, by that point widely acknowledged as the single greatest player on the planet, leads the USMNT to its second consecutive World Cup title. The future appears very bright if you look at it the right way.
Update (2:36 PM): I overlooked Canada’s inclusion in this World Cup bid in an earlier version of this post. It has now been updated to reflect Canada’s involvement.