The South American federation CONMEBOL has released a statement claiming that all 10 member countries will back the North American 2026 joint World Cup bid, giving the United States, Mexico, and Canadian effort a massive boost.
CONMEBOL’s statement was strong, claiming South American must do all it can to help the sport grow across the two continents, making it clear they believe that North American success in the sport benefits South America. While 10 votes is the smallest of any continental confederation, it still carries weight towards those who may be undecided.
“The countries in the Americas share many historical ties,” the statement reads, “and our conviction is that South American football can and should contribute to the development of football in all of the American hemisphere, recognizing the sport as a powerful uniting force.”
The decision to unilaterally back the North American bid was made at the confederation’s 68th Ordinary Congress in Buenos Aires on Thursday, the statement claims. Morocco is opposing the joint North American bid for the 2026 World Cup, and the African nation is putting up a significant fight with a number of countries publicly backing their bid.
CONMEBOL’s decision to back the North American bid isn’t terribly surprising, as the two confederations have been working together for years of late, including holding the most recent Copa America Centenario in the United States in the summer of 2016, with talks of CONCACAF nations receiving an invite to the upcoming 2019 Copa America in Brazil. The CONMEBOL statement points to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and the 1994 World Cup in the United States as both directly benefitting South America. Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, while Brazil won the 1994 World Cup.
North America’s bid took a massive blow when UEFA nations France, Belgium, and Russia all claimed support for Morocco. In addition, any bid from an African nation will put up a challenge, as the CAF owns a whopping 55 member nations (56 minus Morocco who does not get to vote) who will almost certainly all support a fellow member nation when voting comes around.