Friday 29 April 2022, 22:00

Gianni Infantino discusses FIFA World Cup 2026™ preparations during visit to Mexico

  • FIFA President meets with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the President of Mexico

  • Mexico set to become the first country to host three FIFA World Cup tournaments

  • FIFA Forward and FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan funding in Mexico discussed

Preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2026™ topped the agenda when FIFA President Gianni Infantino conducted meetings with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the President of Mexico, and with officials from the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) including President Yon de Luisa and Secretary General Iñigo Riestra.

The North American state will become the first country to stage three FIFA World Cups when it co-hosts the tournament - the first to feature 48 teams - with the United States and Canada. Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey are the country’s candidate host cities to stage matches at the FIFA World Cup 2026™.

“We had a constructive exchange with both the government and football representatives looking at current issues and future plans, both for domestic football in Mexico and its role in hosting the FIFA World Cup 2026,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The FIFA President praised the FMF's recent use of FIFA Forward and COVID-19 Relief Plan funds. The FMF used most of its grants from FIFA’s COVID-19 Relief Plan to help run the women’s football league – the Liga MX Femenil – and to support the women’s national teams. The FMF is using FIFA Forward funding to upgrade the high-performance national centre in Mexico City, where all Mexican national teams train, while the head coach of Mexico’s women’s national team, Mónica Vergara, was one of the first participants in FIFA’s Coach Mentorship Programme.

“The talks were very cordial, and I thanked the FIFA President for everything that has been done to help Mexican football,” said FMF President Yon de Luisa, who was elected to the FIFA Council in October.

The meeting was also attended by Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Emilio Azcárraga, Executive Chairman of the Board of the Grupo Televisa.

The FIFA President also visited the Estadio Azteca, which staged the final matches of the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, and which will undergo renovations in advance of the finals in 2026.

“For me, being in Mexico and being able to work with this country is fantastic, not only for the next FIFA World Cup, but also for an expansion of soccer in North America with a global impact,” the FIFA President added. “It was great to have the opportunity to visit such an iconic venue with a rich history of staging FIFA World Cup matches from two previous final tournaments. It is a true cathedral of football, and a landmark for our global sport.

"It is important that through the upcoming changes the venue keeps its soul. The challenge is to keep this soul and modernise the stadium, as we have to maintain the magic of this stadium.”