It looks like the 2026 World Cup will be hosted in North America

FIFA says there can be no bids from Europe or Asia

BY Raf Diallo 21:38 Friday 14 October 2016, 21:38 14 Oct 2016

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Getty Images

The 2026 World Cup looks set to be awarded to North America.

The FIFA Council has ruled that there can be no bidders from Europe or Asia after Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

The governing body is also considering expanding the tournament to 40 or 48 nations.

Since 1998, the World Cup has featured 32 teams split into eight groups of four.

The United States is expected to lodge a bid to host the tournament, either alone or in a joint bid with Canada and Mexico.

USA has previously hosted the tournament in 1994, while Mexico staged the World Cup in 1970 and 1986. Canada has never previously hosted the World Cup and their national team has only qualified once, losing all three games during a group stage exit at Mexico '86.

On their official website, FIFA confirmed: "Approval of the general principle that MAs (member associations) from confederations of the last two hosts of the FIFA World Cup (i.e. UEFA and the AFC) will be ineligible to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. However, the FIFA Council will have the power to grant eligibility to MAs of the confederation of the second-to-last host of the FIFA World Cup (i.e. UEFA) and open the bidding process to any interested MAs from this confederation in the event that none of the received bids fulfil the strict technical and financial requirements."

The 48-team World Cup idea was originally proposed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and was addressed in the update from the FIFA Council meeting.

"Following discussions in a positive spirit, the 2026 FIFA World Cup may have an expanded 40- or 48-team competition format, pending further analysis of different options by the FIFA administration, with a final decision to be made on the format at the next Council meeting in January," said football's world governing body.

Infantino's original proposal was a preliminary stage featuring 32 teams in a knockout round with the winners joining 16 others in the group stage.

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