World Cup Gianni Infantino

If you want more World Cup action to satisfy your soccer appetite, the 2026 World Cup could be tailor-made just for you. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has gone on record saying he would be open to considering inviting as many as 40 countries to compete in the 2026 World Cup. He would also be open to considering having the World Cup hosted by multiple nations.

This should come as good news for soccer fans in North America once again itching to get a taste of the World Cup on home soil for the first time since 1994, when the United States hosted the event. It is reported the United States, Canada, and Mexico could share hosting duties for the 2026 World Cup, which would be fascinating and would do a remarkable job of bringing together a wide spread of soccer locales and fanbases. More nations competing in three separate countries? The more the merrier, right?

“So, there is, I would say, no limit to whatever is good for football,” Infantino said on the sidelines of a meeting of European clubs. “We will see, but it’s true that CONCACAF did not have the World Cup for a long time.”

The World Cup has been hosted by multiple countries before. In 2002, Japan and South Korea shared hosting duties for the World Cup. Depending on the logistics of the nations involved, having dual-hosting responsibilities would make sense in an effort to help promote the game and spread the game and wealth around, especially if the countries are not what you would consider soccer blueblood nations.

If anyone should know the benefits to hosting a world-class soccer event in multiple nations, it would be Infantino. The former UEFA president witnessed first-hand how the Euro tournaments being held in multiple nations in 2000, 2008, and 2012 had a positive effect on the sport in Europe. The expansion of Euro from 16 to 24 teams also shows that Infantino isn’t bluffing when he talks about inviting more countries into the fold.

“We have seen it again at the Euro in France with eight more teams, what kind of enthusiasm this generated in many, many countries,” he said. “We need to realize that these kind of events are more than just a competition, they are real social events in the whole world.”

Voting for the 2026 host site is scheduled to be held in 2020, so there is time to work out the proposed logistics from CONCACAF. That could be a good time to see the main event on the soccer calendar return to North America. The last time it was in the United States, it was still struggling to really catch on in the nation.

By the time 2026 comes around, the soccer outlook in the United States alone will have grown up in a big way since 1994, even if the men’s national team is still a perennial underdog in the tournament. The way the sport is covered and viewed by the masses has evolved. It may not be all the way there by 2026, but it the soccer community will be much more visible in 2026 should North America get the World Cup.

[Associated Press]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.