HASH(0xb5cbb0)

North America set for fast-tracked 2026 World Cup decision

North America set for fast-tracked 2026 World Cup decision

MANAMA, Bahrain — An accelerated process to hand North America the 2026 World Cup is set to be approved by soccer leaders this week, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino hoping for a “bulletproof” process to avoid past voting scandals.

The United States, Canada, and Mexico are seeking an unchallenged path to co-hosting rights for the 2026 showpiece, if FIFA’s technical requirements are met by next year

“It’s an interesting, original proposal and we will discuss it tomorrow at the council and present the recommendation to the congress,” Infantino told The Associated Press on Monday in Bahrain at the start of a week of FIFA meetings.

There is expected to be no opposition to fast-tracking the plans at either the council or the congress, where FIFA’s entire 211-strong leadership has the final say.

By avoiding a contest, the process should be resistant to the allegations of wrongdoing that have tainted World Cup votes in recent decades. Past bribery has been exposed, in part, by American prosecutors but the U.S.-led bid is the undisputed favourite for the 2026 World Cup.

“We have seen in the past many questions marks around bidding processes,” Infantino said. “So we have to make sure we have to make sure this process is absolutely bulletproof.”

Under plans announced last month, the United States would stage 60 games, including every fixture from the quarterfinals, while Canada and Mexico would have 10 each.

Despite plans to share the tournament, there is a possibility the U.S. emerges as the solo host — like in 1994 — if its neighbours are considered unsuitable by the FIFA Congress in June 2018. The motion being presented to the congress on Thursday states that the North Americans want the hosting rights if “one or more” of the countries “satisfies the technical bid requirements.”

The North Americans are anticipating the go-ahead on Thursday from the FIFA Congress and have a staff and office space lined up, a person with knowledge of the situation said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the bid plans publicly ahead of FIFA’s approval.

Once that is given, the neighbours will then press ahead will determining which cities will host games. A possible venue for the final is the 80,000-seat stadium that is being built for the Los Angeles Rams NFL team in Inglewood, California, and is due to open in 2019.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura highlighted the importance of assessing the “nitty gritty” of the hosting plans, even if the North Americans are given a clear path to the 2026 World Cup.

“What the administration is concerned about is that the bidding process is free, inclusive, and transparent,” Samoura said. “We will make sure that the highest level of standards are respected.”

___

Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

Rob Harris, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Youth in care advocate for change

New youth advisory committee gets to work in Nanaimo

Two cars collide at Enterprise Way intersection

Accident happened Wednesday, April 25, just before 8:15 p.m. on the old Island Highway

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: City’s handling of NRE is reason for outrage

Who would have thought council could assume that allowing for the demise of the NRE was an option?

Unmarked police SUV with lights and siren on crashes at parkway intersection

Sport-utility vehicle and crossover collide at Aulds Road and Nanaimo Parkway

UPDATED: Search operation begins for missing Nanaimo man

Nanaimo Search and Rescue has set up operations at Westwood Lake in effort to find Lionel Cayer

Unmarked police SUV with lights and siren on crashes at parkway intersection

Sport-utility vehicle and crossover collide at Aulds Road and Nanaimo Parkway

Arrests made after pickup collides with two unmarked police cars in Yellow Point

Two men facing numerous charges after allegedly fleeing scene

City council won’t accept more than a two-per-cent tax increase

Financial plan amendment bylaw fails on first reading in 5-4 vote

City of Nanaimo staff busy with flurry of FOI requests

City clerk says municipality on track to receive 600 freedom of information requests in 2018

Traffic routes shuffled as roadwork continues

Drive with caution through city roadwork zones or find alternative routes to avoid delays

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Homelessness isn’t a choice for people

I am a woman in my 60s who recently found myself homeless, says letter writer

Spirit of BookFest extended to Nanaimo’s school libraries

Participating authors and illustrators donate books

Nanaimo buses first to get new technology

NextRide technology will help riders pinpoint where buses are and predicted arrival times

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Most Read