How will 2026 World Cup vote work?

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The vote for who will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup takes place in Moscow on Wednesday, June 13 during the 68th FIFA Congress as the North American bid and Morocco go head-to-head.

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Below is a breakdown on exactly how the voting system will work, as FIFA’s 206 member associations able to vote (Morocco, USA, Canada and Mexico are unable to vote as their bidding to be hosts) will decide which bid wins. 104 is the magic number.

There is also the small chance of both bids failing if enough votes are made for the third option on the ballot which is “None of the Bids – Reopen Bidding Process” as both the North American and Moroccan bid will lose and bids from other continents will be able to make a future bid to host the 2026 tournament.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Some projections have this being a close run thing with the joint U.S.-Canada-Mexico bid just ahead of Morocco but not having over 50 percent of the vote in the opening round, thus meaning a second round of bidding will take place. Whichever option has the most votes in a simple majority at the end of the second round will win the right to host the tournament.

Okay, with a little help from FIFA’s guidelines on the revamped bidding process, here we go…

How the voting process to select the 2026 FIFA World Cup hosts will work

  • The question to be put to the 68th FIFA Congress in connection with the vote shall be: “Do you want to award the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup
    final competition to the bid submitted by the Moroccan Football Association, to the joint bid submitted by the CSA, FEMEXFUT and the USSF (“United Bid”), or to none of them (thus reopening the bidding process, excluding the four member associations having already submitted a bid)?”
  • Voting may be conducted by electronic means. In this case, the possible votes are: “Moroccan Football Association Bid”; “United Bid”; or “None of the Bids – Reopen Bidding Process.”
  • If a FIFA Congress member does not vote for any of these options, this shall be counted as an abstention. The result of each ballot and the related votes by the members of the FIFA Congress shall be made public on immediately after the conclusion of the Congress.
  • The result will be announced immediately after the vote has been conducted by showing it on the screen at the FIFA congress.
  • In accordance with art. 69 par. 2 (d) of the FIFA Statutes, if fewer than three bids are presented to the Congress, a simple majority (more than 50%) of the valid votes cast is required for a decision on the host. In accordance with art. 11 par. 1 of the Standing Orders of the Congress, invalid votes or electronic votes manipulated in any other way as well as abstentions are to be disregarded when calculating the simple majority.
  • If one of the two bids obtains a simple majority in the first ballot, it shall be awarded the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The other bid shall be deemed to be rejected by FIFA. This decision is final.
  • If the third option (“None of the Bids – Reopen Bidding Process”) obtains a simple majority in the first ballot, both of the aforementioned bids are deemed to be rejected and the second phase of the Bidding Procedure shall be initiated (thus reopening the bidding process, excluding the four member associations that have already submitted a bid).
  • If none of the above three options obtains a simple majority, and the number of votes for the option “None of the Bids – Reopen Bidding Process” is equal to the number of votes for the aforementioned bids taken together, both of the bids shall be deemed to be rejected and the second phase of the Bidding Procedure shall be initiated. The proceedings relating to the agenda item of the 68th FIFA Congress on the designation of the host country of the 2026 FIFA World Cup shall be concluded.
  • If none of the options presented to the 68th FIFA Congress reaches a simple majority, and the number of votes for the aforementioned bids taken together is higher than the number of votes for the option “None of the Bids”, a second ballot shall be conducted. The question to be put to the 68th FIFA Congress in the context of the second ballot shall be: “Do you want to award the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ final competition to the bid submitted by the Moroccan Football Association or to the joint bid submitted by the CSA, FEMEXFUT and the USSF (“United Bid”)?”
  • A simple majority (more than 50%) of the valid votes cast is required for a decision to be taken in the second ballot.  If the second ballot should result in an equal number of votes for both bids, the bid that received the highest weighted average score in the technical evaluation report shall prevail.

Atlanta heads into MLS playoffs looking to defend its Cup

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MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) It’s been a strange season for Atlanta United.

They’ve added more two more cups to their collection.

They’ve endured some rather baffling losses.

[ MORE: Monster deal for Mbappe? ]

After all that, the defending MLS Cup champions are heading into the postseason from essentially the same position as last season.

Atlanta, which was runner-up in the Eastern Conference, will host the New England Revolution on Saturday in the opening round of the playoffs, a rematch of their Oct. 6 game to close out the regular season.

“We’ve put ourselves in a pretty decent spot, as strange as the season has maybe been,” midfielder Julian Gressel said Wednesday after a training session. “We’ve already won two trophies, and now we have a chance for a third.”

In mid-August, United broke out the champagne after a 3-2 victory over Mexican powerhouse Club America to capture the Campeones Cup.

A couple of weeks later, they were celebrating again with a 2-1 victory over Minnesota United in the U.S. Open Cup final, guaranteeing a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.

“I felt like we were always there and pretty much at our best in those games,” Gressel said. “That’s why I’m pretty confident we’ll be at our best when it really matters.”

But there are reasons to be concerned. Atlanta struggled badly in some league games – especially on the road – and rarely looked like the dynamic team that won the MLS Cup in just its second year under former coach Tata Martino.

With Frank De Boer now at the helm, United got off to a sluggish start and spent much of the season juggling lineups and switching up tactics in a desperate bid to find some consistency. Atlanta never put together an unbeaten streak longer than five games – it had three such stretches a year ago – and finished with 58 points, 58 goals and a plus-15 goal differential. All were short of the 69 points, 70 goals and plus-26 differential from the 2018 season.

[ MORE: USMNT player ratings ]

Still, United’s second-place showing in the East behind New York City FC matches last year’s finish, guaranteeing the team at least one home game in the playoffs and another in the conference semifinals should it beat the Revolution.

That’s a crucial edge for a franchise that has essentially broken every MLS attendance record and again averaged more than 52,000 per game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, doubling up every team in the league except Seattle and Cincinnati. In 17 home games, Atlanta lost only twice.

While United closed out the season with a 3-1 victory over New England, the Revolution has been one of the league’s hottest teams over the second half of the season.

Atlanta will be further tested by the possible absence of its best defender, Miles Robinson, who is dealing with a strained left hamstring sustained during a workout with the U.S. national team last week.

If Robinson can’t go, United will have to change up their lineup once again and possibly adopt a more defensive approach to Saturday’s game.

“If I do push up, it’s more so getting back a little faster than I normally would, things like that,” said midfielder Darlington Nagbe, one of those who may be affected if Robinson can’t go. “Just feel the game out and see how it plays out.”

In the regular-season finale, Ezequiel Barco got the start over Pity Martinez, a lineup that de Boer might go with again in the playoffs.

Barco played only 15 league games this season because of injuries and a lengthy stint with Argentina at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, but he provided the sort of spark de Boer was looking for against New England. Martinez, who was the 2018 South American player of the year and Atlanta’s major acquisition during the last offseason, has struggled to find his nice in MLS with just five goals in 32 appearances.

“We have to see,” de Boer said. “The only thing that concerns me is to win the playoffs.”

MLS switched up the playoff format this season. Instead of the top two teams from both the East and the West receiving byes and two-legged rounds to determine the winner of conference semifinals and finals, only the first-place finisher gets the opening round off and every step of the playoffs is a single-game elimination.

There is no room for error.

“If you have an off day, you might be out,” Gressel said. “I feel like it’s a format that favors the underdog a bit more, or gives the underdog a bit more hope.”

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com

Zlatan paces MLS jersey sellers, offers fresh quip on Minnesota challenge

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic: He’s like a more charming, less anarchist version of Tom Hardy’s Bane.

The LA Galaxy man was revealed to again have the top-selling jersey in Major League Soccer on Wednesday, days before the club begins its 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs run with a match in Minnesota.

[ MORE: Monster deal for Mbappe? ]

Snow is in the forecast, but Zlatan is not bothered by such weather.

“I’m from Sweden I was born in the snow. When it snows, I’m a viking. When it’s warm, I’m a lion. We adjust for every condition there is.”

Back to the jerseys, the MLS MVP finalists are 1-2-3 in sales. Ibrahimovic is first, followed by Atlanta’s Josef Martinez, and LAFC’s Carlos Vela.

The top sellers amongst Americans are Seattle’s Jordan Morris (7) and Cristian Roldan (12). Chris Wondolowski of San Jose is 13th, while other domestic names on the Top 25 include Sebastian Lletget, Brad Guzan (!?!), Dom Dwyer, Jozy Altidore, and Graham Zusi.

Midweek El Clasico possible in December following political unrest

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Political unrest in Catalonia has both La Liga and the Spanish government looking to move the first El Clasico of the season.

Barcelona and Real Madrid are scheduled to meet at the Camp Nou on Oct. 26, but the jailing of nine Catalan separatists has caused uproar in-and-around Barca.

In fact, Barca as a club has denounced the imprisonment, so it plays more than a peripheral role in the controversy.

[ JPW: What now for Berhalter, USMNT? ] 

Players heading to and returning from international break have faced in challenges in getting to the club.

Instead, Marca says that we may see a midweek match played in Madrid on Wednesday, Dec. 18, with the reverse fixture in March moved from Madrid to Barcelona.

Dec. 18 would give both teams three matches in eight days before La Liga’s winter break. Barca would play Real Sociedad, Real Madrid, and Alaves, while Real would play Valencia and Real Betis in addition to the Clasico. Both difficult runs, but fairly even.

Reports claim Allegri linked with Manchester United, Spurs

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The international break can be a slow time for news, but what to make of multiple reports claiming that Max Allegri is in discussion with a pair of struggling traditional Premier League powers?

Tuttosport claims that Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have interest in hiring the Italian manager, adding that United has had “intensified” contact with him.

[ MORE: Monster deal for Mbappe? ]

Noise out of Old Trafford continues to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while there is no real buzz that Mauricio Pochettino is on the verge of leaving Spurs.

The 52-year-old Allegri has won Serie A once with AC Milan and five times with Juventus, claiming a Serie C title with Sassuolo in 2007-08.

Is there anything to it? He’d be a great hire for either side. In United’s case, he’d be a marked upgrade on their current boss.