The Boston area still is in the running to particpate in the world’s biggest sporting event.
The United Bid Committee of the United States, Mexico and Canada announced Wednesday on its website that Boston is among 32 cities that could stage games at the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The committee reduced its original list of 44 cities to 32, and Boston and Gillette Stadium made the first cut. Local officials now will work with the committee to finalize details of a formal bid it expects to submit to FIFA next year.
“We received applications from 41 cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States and narrowed the list after a comprehensive review of each of the communities and facilities,” John Kristick, Executive Director of the United Bid Committee said. “The 32 cities that we have identified as potential host cities, on their own and together, are prepared to welcome soccer fans from around the world. They are more than capable of helping fulfill the shared vision and ambition of FIFA and the United Bid in shaping the future of soccer in North America.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first tournament with the expanded 48-team format, so plenty of cities and stadiums will be necessary to accommodate them.
USA, Canada and Mexico will compete with Morocco for the right to host the 2026 World Cup, and the joint bid is considered the heavy favorite to win the race. The committee plans to formally submit its bid to FIFA in March 2018.
Boston Bid Chairperson and New England Revolution President Brian Bilello hopes the city’s rich history with FIFA and MLS events will keep it in the running to stage games in 2026.
“We are pleased to have advanced to the next stage of evaluation as a Host City candidate for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and look forward to bringing the world’s premier sporting competition back to Boston,” Bilello said in a statement. “We are proud of soccer’s deep and rich history on our site, which includes hosting three FIFA World Cup competitions: the 1994 FIFA Men’s World Cup, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“Having the 1994 FIFA World Cup here in the United States helped launch MLS and forever changed the path of soccer in the United States. Since then, both our league and the passion for soccer in our community have flourished and continue to grow. We are excited for this opportunity to hopefully add a fourth FIFA World Cup to Boston’s substantial soccer history and inspire a new era of growth for the beautiful game in the U.S. and Boston.”
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images