Oceania gets behind North American bid for 2026 World Cup
The Oceania Football Confederation has given its backing to the three-way bid from North America to host the 2026 World Cup.
Last week, USA, Canada and Mexico confirmed their intention to mount a joint application to stage the tournament, and asked Fifa for a decision in June 2018, two years ahead of schedule.
The Concacaf region was already a strong favourite to hold the World Cup given that it has not done so since 1994, in USA, and Europe and Asia, as the next two hosts, have been excluded from the 2026 process.
David Chung, the president of the OFC and a vice-president of Fifa, told AP yesterday that “it makes sense on a rotational basis” for the World Cup to return to North America in 2026.
He added that the bid should have “an exclusive period of negotiation” with Fifa for the next year.
The three North American bidders have asked Fifa to consider their proposal at the federation's Congress in Bahrain on 11 May.
If approved, Fifa could then ask the bid to show it meets all technical demands by a 31 March, 2018 deadline, allowing the 2026 hosts to be declared at the Fifa 2018 Congress in Moscow, ahead of next year's World Cup.
Fifa has already decided to expand the tournament from 32 to 48 teams in 2026, with Oceania, which has only 11 members, set to have an automatic qualifier for the first time.
It is envisaged that USA would host 60 of the 80 matches, with Canada and Mexico staging 10 each.