North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

North American trio beats Morocco to host 2026 World Cup

(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin). FIFA President Gianni Infantino arrives at the FIFA congress on the eve of the opener of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin). FIFA President Gianni Infantino arrives at the FIFA congress on the eve of the opener of the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

By ROB HARRIS and GRAHAM DUNBAR
AP Sports Writers

MOSCOW (AP) - North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted Wednesday for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament.

The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow, where the 2018 tournaments starts on Thursday.

"Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege," U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro told the congress. "The beautiful game transcends borders and cultures."

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted after the victory : "Congratulations, - a great deal of hard work!"

While Trump has been feuding with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over tariffs and policy after the G-7 meeting and with Mexican leaders about his proposed border wall, the heads of state are not heavily involved in this World Cup bid. Even if Trump wins re-election, his presidency would end before the 2026 World Cup.

The vote by national football federations was public, in contrast to secrecy surrounding the 2010 vote when FIFA's elected board members picked Russia to host in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, defeating the U.S.

The regional bid proved more appealing this time and the North Americans even collected 11 votes from Africa.

"The United bid was strong and if it was just the United States, I think Morocco would have beaten them," said Cameroon federation official Kevin Njomo, whose country voted for Morocco. "People have a soft spot for Mexico, especially looking at Mexico as a little bit under-developed and giving them a chance. Canada is a good tourist destination.

"But I think where it had the advantage was the World Cup would be more profitable in America and it is a capitalist world."

North America is optimistically promising to deliver $14 billion in revenue helped, while the tournament won't require major construction work required on the 16 planned stadiums, all of which already exist.

The U.S. proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games in 2026, when 16 teams will be added to the tournament, leaving Canada and Mexico with ten fixtures each. But FIFA President Gianni Infantino suggested the split of games could change.

"They have made a decision among themselves but ultimately it will be up to FIFA to decide," Infantino said.

Morocco appeared too hazardous as a potential host when all 14 venues had to be built or renovated as part of a $16 billion investment in new infrastructure. The vote leaves Morocco reeling from a fifth failure in a World Cup hosting vote, with the continent's sole tournament coming in 2010 in South Africa.

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani shared the national disappointment but tweeted his thanks to the bid organizers for "this common dream."

Moroccan sports journalist Omar Chraybi acknowledged that "technically speaking, it's understandable - the U.S. bid capacity surpasses Morocco's." Yet he didn't lose hope, saying, "The world still looks at Africa as an underdog, but we can't afford to give up."

While Morocco's combined tickets and hospitality revenue projected to be $1.07 billion, according to FIFA analysis, North America would generate $2 billion more.

Canada will host men's World Cup matches for the first time, while Mexico gets its first taste of the event since 1986.

"To have a message coming from football that says actually Mexico, Canada and the United States together can organize the biggest sporting and social event together," Infantino said. "It is a nice message."

The 87,000-capacity MetLife Stadium outside New York - home of the NFL's Giants and Jets - is proposed for the final. It's just miles from where federal prosecutors spearheaded an ongoing investigation into FIFA corruption. More than 40 soccer officials and businesses indicted, convicted or pleaded guilty.

The bribery scandal put the governing body on the brink, Infantino told the congress ahead of Wednesday's vote.

"FIFA was clinically dead as an organization," Infantino said, reflecting on his election in 2016 before announcing plans to another four-year term in 2019. "Two years later, FIFA is alive and well, full of joy and passion and with a vision for its future."

The North American victory suggests current FIFA leaders don't hold grudges against a country whose government has jailed corrupt sports leaders.

"When they help us fight against corruption, of course, we are pleased," Infantino said.

The North America bid also had to overcome concerns about the impact of policies from the Trump administration, including attempts to implement a ban on travel by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

FIFA now has the final say on which cities are selected to host games and whether all three countries are guaranteed a place at the tournament. Victor Montagliani, the Canadian who leads CONCACAF, wants them to take three of the seven guaranteed qualification slots reserved for the region as host. Both the United States and Canada failed to qualify for this year's World Cup.

There is also a chance to send an eighth team via an inter-continental playoff. North America will host the six-team playoff tournament in November 2025 to decide the last two places in the 48-team lineup.

___

Amira El Masaiti in Rabat, Morocco contributed to this report.

___

AP World Cup coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • National SportsMore>>

  • Hader headlines impressive bullpen for NL-leading Brewers

    Hader headlines impressive bullpen for NL-leading Brewers

    Monday, June 25 2018 3:04 AM EDT2018-06-25 07:04:06 GMT
    Monday, June 25 2018 3:05 AM EDT2018-06-25 07:05:09 GMT
    (AP Photo/Morry Gash). Milwaukee Brewers' Josh Hader throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, June 22, 2018, in Milwaukee.(AP Photo/Morry Gash). Milwaukee Brewers' Josh Hader throws during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, June 22, 2018, in Milwaukee.
    Milwaukee's Josh Hader headlines a bullpen that has led the Brewers to the National League's best record.
    Milwaukee's Josh Hader headlines a bullpen that has led the Brewers to the National League's best record.
  • Murphy's 2-run single lifts Nationals past Phillies 8-6

    Murphy's 2-run single lifts Nationals past Phillies 8-6

    Monday, June 25 2018 2:24 AM EDT2018-06-25 06:24:21 GMT
    Monday, June 25 2018 3:05 AM EDT2018-06-25 07:05:00 GMT
    (AP Photo/Nick Wass). Washington Nationals' Daniel Murphy reacts after he hit a single that drove in two runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, early Monday, June 25, 2018, in Washington. The Nationals won 8...(AP Photo/Nick Wass). Washington Nationals' Daniel Murphy reacts after he hit a single that drove in two runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, early Monday, June 25, 2018, in Washington. The Nationals won 8...
    Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6.
    Daniel Murphy's two-run single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6.
  • Devon Allen wins tight 110 hurdles at USATF outdoor meet

    Devon Allen wins tight 110 hurdles at USATF outdoor meet

    Sunday, June 24 2018 9:15 PM EDT2018-06-25 01:15:41 GMT
    Monday, June 25 2018 3:04 AM EDT2018-06-25 07:04:52 GMT
    (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall). Shamier Little celebrates as she wins the women's 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Championships athletics meet, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall). Shamier Little celebrates as she wins the women's 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Championships athletics meet, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa.
    Devon Allen won the 110-meter hurdles final Sunday to highlight the final session of the USATF Outdoor championships.
    Devon Allen won the 110-meter hurdles final Sunday to highlight the final session of the USATF Outdoor championships.
  • Strange NewsMore>>

  • In India, rats have a $19,000 meal

    In India, rats have a $19,000 meal

    Friday, June 22 2018 5:06 AM EDT2018-06-22 09:06:32 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 3:49 PM EDT2018-06-24 19:49:36 GMT
    (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File). FILE- In this Nov. 13, 2016 file photo, an Indian holds 2000 rupee currency notes in Jammu, India. Police say at least one rat slipped through a hole in the back of an ATM in northeastern India and ate more than $19,000 i...(AP Photo/Channi Anand, File). FILE- In this Nov. 13, 2016 file photo, an Indian holds 2000 rupee currency notes in Jammu, India. Police say at least one rat slipped through a hole in the back of an ATM in northeastern India and ate more than $19,000 i...
    Police say at least one rat slipped through a hole in the back of an ATM in northeastern India and ate more than $19,000 in currency.
    Police say at least one rat slipped through a hole in the back of an ATM in northeastern India and ate more than $19,000 in currency.
  • 2 people injured while trying to avoid hitting kangaroo

    2 people injured while trying to avoid hitting kangaroo

    Thursday, June 21 2018 4:47 PM EDT2018-06-21 20:47:54 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 3:49 PM EDT2018-06-24 19:49:34 GMT
    Trooper Matt Finley tells KWYB-TV that he thought it was joke when he was responding to the call on Wednesday morning out on Highway 2 until he saw the kangaroo. (Source: Pixabay)Trooper Matt Finley tells KWYB-TV that he thought it was joke when he was responding to the call on Wednesday morning out on Highway 2 until he saw the kangaroo. (Source: Pixabay)

    A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper says two people were injured after the driver swerved their vehicle to avoid hitting a kangaroo on the road.

    A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper says two people were injured after the driver swerved their vehicle to avoid hitting a kangaroo on the road.

  • Park system celebrates 150 years with pink flamingo record

    Park system celebrates 150 years with pink flamingo record

    Friday, June 22 2018 2:39 PM EDT2018-06-22 18:39:06 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 3:49 PM EDT2018-06-24 19:49:32 GMT
    (Zhi Ting Phua/Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy via AP). In this Thursday, June 21, 2018 photo, garden flamingos decorate a city park in Buffalo, N.Y. Park officials are tickled pink over claiming a new world record for having the longest line of the ...(Zhi Ting Phua/Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy via AP). In this Thursday, June 21, 2018 photo, garden flamingos decorate a city park in Buffalo, N.Y. Park officials are tickled pink over claiming a new world record for having the longest line of the ...
    Parks officials in Buffalo, New York, are tickled pink over claiming a new world record for having the longest line of garden flamingos.
    Parks officials in Buffalo, New York, are tickled pink over claiming a new world record for having the longest line of garden flamingos.
  • 2018 FIFA World CupWorld Cup & soccer newsMore>>

  • Kane scores hat trick in England's 6-1 rout of Panama

    Kane scores hat trick in England's 6-1 rout of Panama

    Sunday, June 24 2018 10:13 AM EDT2018-06-24 14:13:43 GMT
    Monday, June 25 2018 3:04 AM EDT2018-06-25 07:04:25 GMT
    (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni). England's Harry Kane celebrates after he scored his side's second goal during the group G match between England and Panama at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod , Russia, Sunday, June...(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni). England's Harry Kane celebrates after he scored his side's second goal during the group G match between England and Panama at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod , Russia, Sunday, June...
    Harry Kane scored a hat trick to help England to its most one-sided World Cup victory, a 6-1 rout of Panama that secured a place in the last 16 with a game to spare.
    Harry Kane scored a hat trick to help England to its most one-sided World Cup victory, a 6-1 rout of Panama that secured a place in the last 16 with a game to spare.
  • Messi birthday overshadowed by Argentina's World Cup crisis

    Messi birthday overshadowed by Argentina's World Cup crisis

    Sunday, June 24 2018 9:13 AM EDT2018-06-24 13:13:43 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 11:44 PM EDT2018-06-25 03:44:54 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan). Lionel Messi is congratulated by coach Jorge Sampaoli on the day of his birthday during a training session of Argentina at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Sunday, June 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan). Lionel Messi is congratulated by coach Jorge Sampaoli on the day of his birthday during a training session of Argentina at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Bronnitsy, Russia, Sunday, June 24, 2018.
    Lionel Messi's birthday is being overshadowed by turmoil embroiling Argentina's coach and the squad.
    Lionel Messi's birthday is being overshadowed by turmoil embroiling Argentina's coach and the squad.
  • Sweden player condemns racist abuse after World Cup loss

    Sweden player condemns racist abuse after World Cup loss

    Sunday, June 24 2018 5:44 PM EDT2018-06-24 21:44:01 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 8:56 PM EDT2018-06-25 00:56:07 GMT
    (AP Photo/Sergei Grits). Referee Szymon Marcniak of Poland, right, talks with Sweden's Jimmy Durmaz, middle, at the end the group F match between Germany and Sweden at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, June 23, ...(AP Photo/Sergei Grits). Referee Szymon Marcniak of Poland, right, talks with Sweden's Jimmy Durmaz, middle, at the end the group F match between Germany and Sweden at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, June 23, ...
    Sweden midfielder Jimmy Durmaz says the racist abuse aimed at him over social media following the 2-1 loss to Germany at the World Cup has been "completely unacceptable.".
    Sweden midfielder Jimmy Durmaz says the racist abuse aimed at him over social media following the 2-1 loss to Germany at the World Cup has been "completely unacceptable.".
Powered by Frankly