While the rest of the world’s hatred of Donald Trump runs deep, it apparently doesn’t run quite deep enough to deprive the U.S. of hosting the World Cup. After a bit of a scare there for a while, today FIFA voted on who would host the 2026 World Cup and the joint bid by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico won. Hooray.
At one point a couple months ago, there was real belief that the bid of Morocco, the other country vying for 2026 World Cup hosting rights, was gaining steam in large part because of much of the world’s anti-Trump sentiment. The North American bid leaders eventually overcame that, though, mostly for the obvious reason: a vote for the United bid was a vote for lots and lots of money.
The United bid predicted that hosting the 2026 World Cup in America—and can we dispense with the whole “joint bid” nonsense now? This will be a U.S. World Cup, evidenced by the fact that 60 of the 80 matches will be played stateside—would pull in an eye-watering $14 billion in revenues. Couple the fat chunk of those revenues each FIFA member nation will be in line to receive with the obvious infrastructural advantages of hosting the first 48-team World Cup—remember, FIFA voted not long ago to expand the field from the current 32 teams to 48 starting in 2026—in the U.S. rather than Morocco, and it was pretty much a no-brainer that the North American bid won out.
Normally the U.S. winning the right to host the World Cup on home soil would be cause for celebration, but this feels different. After the exposure of FIFA’s rampant and shameless corruption over the past couple years, and in light of FIFA’s attempts to ruin the sanctity of the tournament by giving the 2022 hosting rights to Qatar and moving that edition from the summer to the winter so that the players don’t melt from the Qatari heat and all the death and slavery involved in building Qatar’s World Cup infrastructure and the bloating of the field from 32 to 48 for no other reason than for greed, it’s hard to not to feel jaded by the prospect of getting in bed with FIFA again. Sure, it’s cool that now we’ll get the opportunity to see World Cup matches live without traveling too far from home, and the influx of attention and money will probably jolt interest in the sport in the U.S. the same way the 1994 World Cup did. But after everything FIFA has gone through, the World Cup itself feels like something less than it was before.
If anyone really got bailed out here, it’s the USMNT. After the historic debacle that was their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, at least those clowns don’t have to worry about falling on their faces against mighty Trinidad & Tobago again, since our hosting privileges will come with an automatic entry pass for the U.S. It’s probably more than the USMNT deserves, but we’re not going to argue about it.