Monday 01 November 2021, 20:00

Excitement mounts as FIFA completes second leg of FIFA World Cup 2026™ inspection visits

FIFA today concluded the second round of visits to the candidate host cities for the FIFA World Cup 2026™, with a delegation led by FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani witnessing the enthusiasm and passion sparked by the prospect of welcoming football’s flagship event when it takes place in the United States, Mexico and Canada five years from now.

The excitement in the cities visited during the first leg was palpable and it was no different this time around in Kansas City, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Monterrey, San Francisco and Seattle. The latest visits also bore out the steadfast commitment on the part of the respective city and stadium authorities, as well as local football clubs and other sports organisations, in addition to the vast amount of hard work that has been undertaken.

“After visiting a total of 17 cities, we can only reiterate our appreciation for the professionalism and passion that all of them have put into this bidding process. While all the cities involved are unique, we see that they are all embracing the World Cup as a whole by aligning local stakeholders towards sustainable goals to make the most of this unique project,” said Victor Montagliani.

“What struck me in every city that we visited was the passion for football throughout the community, together with the excitement about hosting the FIFA World Cup. They really want it and we have no doubt about the tremendous success of the event,” he added.

After almost two years of virtual exchanges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this inspection tour offered FIFA experts the opportunity to assess key infrastructures first-hand, such as stadiums, training facilities, transport and potential FIFA Fan Festival™ venues, and address any question marks with the respective candidate host city representatives.

“Our first priority is to set the stage for the best players in the world to play in the best conditions,” said FIFA’s Chief Tournament & Events Officer, Colin Smith. “So, naturally, our initial focus is to look at the pitch and the stadium, and then we build around that to offer the best possible experience to all groups involved in the World Cup, be it the fans, the media, broadcasters, sponsors or the officials.”

“The overall level of preparation across all the candidates has been really impressive, so we will have a tough job selecting the final host cities,” he added.

The remaining bidding venues in the United States, Mexico and Canada will be visited by the end of November, with a view to performing a thorough assessment and finalising the selection process by Q1/Q2 2022.