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Eligible hosts for 2026 World Cup confirmed

by Paul Kennedy,

FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed that only Asian countries will not be allowed to bid for the 2026 World Cup. The United States is expected to submit a bid in a campaign that will conclude with the selection of the host at the 2017 FIFA Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Only two weeks earlier, Blatter had suggested that countries from the confederations in which the two most recent World Cups were played could not bid. That would have excluded Europe (Russia 2018) and Asia (Qatar 2022).

From a competitive perspective, the USA will have to be satisfied. If Asia was allowed to bid, it would have potentially gone up against China, which could have mounted an aggressive bid. Europe has hosted the World Cup more than any other continents.

France, Germany and Italy have each hosted the tournament twice. England, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have hosted the tournament once. Russia will host the next tournament. England was a loser in the 2018 campaign, and FA chairman Greg Dyke has said it will not bid for the 2026 World Cup if Blatter is still in power.

Only Germany would seem to be able to mount a challenge to a U.S. bid. Economic issues in Europe would work against most other countries.

Morocco, a loser to the USA in 1994 and controversially to South Africa in 2010, has expressed interest in hosting the 2026 World Cup, but its decision to withdraw as host of the 2015 African Cup of Nations because of the Ebola crisis infuriated African soccer officials.

2018-2022 WORLD CUP SLOTS.
The FIFA executive committee confirmed that each confederation would retain the same number of slots for the next two World Cups:

Europe: 13
Africa: 5
Asia: 4.5
South America: 4.5
Concacaf: 3.5
Oceania: 0.5
Host: 1

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