Tuesday 05 March 2024, 23:00

Gianni Infantino tells FIFA World Cup 26™ Host Cities they are part of a winning team that will put on an unforgettable show

  • The FIFA President addressed the opening of the Host City Commercial Summit in Miami

  • FIFA and the Host Cities are working together to make the tournament “the greatest show the planet has seen”

  • Visiting fans want to be “part of something special,” the FIFA President said

Gianni Infantino has told representatives of the FIFA World Cup 26™ Host Cities that they are part of a winning team and that, working together with FIFA, they will put on the greatest show that the planet has seen. Opening the two-day FIFA Host Cities Commercial Summit in Miami, United States, the FIFA President stressed that it was a chance to bring people together and spoke of the importance of giving the millions of visiting fans a warm welcome. "This (FIFA) World Cup will not just be the biggest-ever (FIFA) World Cup, it will be the greatest show that the planet has ever seen. It will be something that everyone will remember," said Mr Infantino on his return to Miami one month after the launch of the competition’s match schedule.

The tournament, in Canada, Mexico and the United States, will be the first to feature 48 teams and the first to be co-hosted by three countries. The record total of 104 matches will be divided between 16 Host Cities - Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, Toronto and Vancouver.

“We live, as you all know, in a world which is quite divided and quite aggressive, but in a world which needs occasions to come together,” he said. “The United States, Canada and Mexico, and all of your cities, are melting pots of cultures. They've been built thanks to the work of many people from many, many parts of the world, and you reflect exactly this unity that we want to reflect in football.”

Six million visitors are expected for the competition. “We’ll have a few lucky ones who have secured tickets to enter the stadiums, but we’ll have many, many more who will just come to stay close to their team, to be part of something special. We have hundreds of thousands, coming to your cities, and I can promise you they will come with a peaceful spirit, with a joyful spirit – they want to celebrate, they want to have fun.

“We need to welcome them in the best possible way. Because, if we welcome them and make them feel at home, then this will have an incredibly positive return in what we do.”

He added: “Football – or soccer – touches the emotions, the hearts and the souls of the people and when they visit your beautiful countries and your beautiful cities, they want to feel something special … this is the magic of the game that billions of people love all over the world.”

Over the course of the two days, the Host City representatives will exchange information with each other and FIFA representatives and take part in sessions on topics such as FIFA partnerships, brand activations, licensing and retail, and commercial sales.