People will attend the 2026 FIFA World Cup Host City Selection Watch Party on June 16, 2022 in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ, USA. REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz

New York: With 16 cities in the first World Cup spanning three countries revealed, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has issued a bold statement summarizing the goals of the 2026 tournament, primarily in the United States. ..

“By 2026, football (or football) will be the number one sport in this part of the world,” he declared.

About four years before the football showcase came to the United States, Mexico and Canada, there were already winners and losers on Thursday. Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Kansas City, Missouri were one of the cities of choice after missing out on the 1994 event. tournament.

Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville, Tennessee, Orlando, Florida missed the cut.

All 11 US stadiums have been acquired from the NFL. Arlington, Texas; East Rutherford, NJ; Foxborough, Massachusetts, Inglewood, CA and Santa Clara were the holdover areas of the 1994 tournament that gained a lot of attention in the United States for football.

Hosting the 1970 and 1986 finals, Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca will be the first stadium of the three World Cups to be selected alongside Guadalajara’s Estadio Akron and Monterrey’s Estadio BBVA.

BMO Field in Toronto and Vancouver, BC Place in British Columbia were held for the first time in Canada, and Edmonton, the Commonwealth Stadium in Alberta, was abolished.

Following the withdrawal of the outdated FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, the abbreviation of Baltimore means that this will be a rare World Cup with no matches near the host’s capital.

“I can’t imagine the World Cup being held in the United States, where the capital doesn’t play a major role,” said Collin Smith, FIFA’s Supreme Tournament and Event Director.

Infantino has promised to host a fanfest at the National Mall in Washington, with training sites in three countries.

“The story is always about who isn’t chosen,” said Cindy Pallo Corn, president of the American Football Federation.

Infantino’s goal of reaching the top of American sports seems to be fairly ranged. The NFL’s 2021 season average viewership was 17.1 million on television and digital, while the 2018 World Cup average audience was 5.04 million on US English and Spanish television.

“You are the world leader in many areas. The goal must be to be the world leader in the world’s best sport,” Infantino said of North America.

“I know it was laughter and laughter. He wasn’t joking,” said President Victor Montagliani of the North and Central America and the Caribbean Union.

Infantino upheld FIFA’s financial demands on bidding cities and states, including sales tax exemptions. He said World Cup revenues support 211 members of FIFA, with 75% unable to sustain operations without money.

“This is definitely a fair compromise, given the interests of the sport and the interests of the host country,” he said.

The 1994 tournament set a record of 68,991 with a total of 3.59 million participants. All US stadiums in 2026 will have a capacity of over 60,000.

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