THE World Cup held in Germany in 2006 will be the last to be held in western Europe for at least 24 years after Fifa revealed that the 2026 tournament will likely be held in North America and barred Uefa and Asian nations from placing bids.
With the World Cup moving from South Africa to Brazil, then onto Russia in two years and Qatar in 2022, the Fifa Council has completely ruled out European and Asian based tournaments.
North America in Fifa parlance would be any country within the CONCACAF governing body which includes teams from central America, the Caribbean and even a few South American countries in Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana.
Barring a fantastical changes in their fortunes none of the central or south American countries will be able to meet Fifa’s stringent technical requirements to hold the competition.
The decision will be made by 2020, and, with Mexico continuing to struggle with narco-terrorism, the field is essentially narrowed to the US and Canada.
It’s conceivable that they would submit a joint bid, a move said to be favoured by Fifa. If the tournament were to take place in the States it would be the first since 1994 when Roberto Baggio blew Italy’s hopes into the California clouds and Andres Escobar was shot dead in Colombia after scoring an own goal.
Europe will remain on standby in case futures plans fall apart, a distinct possibility given current tensions with Russia and Qatar being surrounded by flames.