Thursday 20 June 2024, 07:30

FIFA President hosts FIFA World Cup 26™ meeting with tournament preparation focus

  • Gianni Infantino and senior FIFA officials meet in FIFA’s Miami office for progress update towards FIFA World Cup 26™

  • Preparations in the 16 host cities high on agenda

  • Most inclusive FIFA World Cup™ yet will feature 48 teams across three host nations, Canada, Mexico and the United States

The FIFA President and other top FIFA and FIFA World Cup 26 officials have met at the FIFA World Cup 26™ office in Miami, United States, to discuss a range of issues related to the historic 48-team tournament to be staged in Canada, Mexico and the US in just under two years’ time.

Gianni Infantino was joined by FIFA Vice President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani via teleconference, as well as other FIFA officials in the room to talk over a range of operational topics as the clock ticks down to the most inclusive FIFA World Cup™ yet, which will feature 48 teams and kick off in Mexico City on 11 June 2026.

Updates on preparations in the 16 host cities – 11 in the US, three in Mexico and two in Canada – and the stadiums that will stage the tournament’s unprecedented 104 matches were high on the agenda. Other topics included visas, which will be critical to the millions of fans that will descend on North America for the single biggest sporting event in the world, as well as safety and security and local and national government engagement.

“Today, we had a very important meeting about the preparations [for] the FIFA World Cup 26. Preparation which is going very well but, of course, many topics have to be discussed when it comes to the different host cities,” said the FIFA President.

He added: “What we know is that in every one of these host cities we will have not only a stadium, a training site and the necessary hotels, but we’ll also have appropriate fan areas, fan festivals for all the fans from all of the world to come and enjoy the games which will be played in that host city, but also other games of the (FIFA) World Cup.

“The cities are approaching these projects in a very different way, but all of them with exactly the same enthusiasm and we look forward to this diversity that the (FIFA) World Cup, FIFA and football, or soccer, unites into one big success story.”

The full list of qualified teams will not be known until the completion of the FIFA Intercontinental Play-Off Tournament in March 2026. The meeting also considered potential venues for that competition, which will see six sides – two teams from Concacaf and one team each from Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania – contest the remaining two qualifying places.

The meeting took place a day before the start of the CONMEBOL Copa América USA 2024™, which will use eight of the 11 US-based stadiums scheduled to host FIFA World Cup 26 matches. FIFA World Cup 26 operational leads will attend Copa América games in an observational capacity, taking forward learnings to ensure the greatest show on the planet runs smoothly in two years’ time.