FIFA didn’t give CONCACAF everything it wanted, but they came close.
The world soccer governing body refused to grant the North American 2026 World Cup joint bid an immediate and exclusive vote, but only put it on hold until June 2018 to allow for other bids to be entered. This decision still significantly fast-tracked the process from what would have otherwise seen a vote on bids in 2020.
According to ESPN correspondent Sam Borden, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati called the decision “a win” despite not seeing the vote happen immediately.
According to Borden, FIFA did not grant an immediate vote as its members were concerned with the exclusivity of the bid. It’s understandable, given the recent issues FIFA has had with internal bribery, that the organization did not want to grant an exclusive bid for fear of seeming vulnerable to bribery in such a situation.
One important note in the official release by FIFA: should a joint bid be submitted, it’s no guarantee that all nations in the joint bid would qualify automatically. The FIFA council will decide which nations involved in the bid qualify for the tournament automatically.
Other nations have until August 11th to submit competing bids before the vote. Some have speculated that other joint bids could arise, such as a joint-nation bid in Africa. However, many reports still suggest that the CONCACAF bid is very strong and would remain the heavy favorite even if other nations come forward.
The 2026 World Cup is slated to be the first with the new, expanded format involving 48 teams which was recently approved by FIFA.