5 things to know as FIFA votes on whether Canada will host 2026 World Cup
We would share the hosting duties with the U.S. and Mexico — if team North America wins, it would be the first time three countries host together.
The “United” North American bid was ratified by FIFA, and is favoured to win over competitor Morocco.
The announcement comes as the 2018 World Cup is set to start on Thursday in Russia.
WATCH: Fears of hooliganism before FIFA World Cup in Russia
Here’s five things you need to know about the vote:
When is the vote?
Voting takes place at the FIFA Congress on Wednesday at the Moscow Expocentre.
Both bids will be given one last chance to make their case with 15 minute presentations in front of congress.
The congress starts at 9 a.m. Moscow time (2 a.m. ET), but voting isn’t expected to begin until later in the proceedings. The vote is currently marked as the 13th item on the agenda.
Who’s voting and how does it work?
Under FIFA’s new system, all eligible football federations who attend congress are entitled to an equal a vote.
So out of the 211 members, all but the competing nations get a vote.
The winning bid simply needs a majority of the votes.
The result has been a jet-setting campaign from both bids who have travelled the globe in an attempt to win over the worldwide electorate.
There is still a chance neither bid is accepted, which would restart the process, according to FIFA.com, but North America and Morocco wouldn’t be able to submit a new bid.
FIFA released a ranking based on things like stadiums, operating costs, fan zones and transportation; North America received a ranking of 4.0 out of 5, while Morocco received 2.7.
Countries are expected to factor the ranking into their vote.
WATCH: Should countries boycott the FIFA World Cup in Russia?
Trump tweets support
In late April, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted out support of the “United” bid for the World Cup.
It’s not unusual for a head of state to talk up his country’s bid, but Trump took things a step further, seemingly threatening to withdraw support for countries that don’t vote for the so-called “United 2026” bid.
Soon after, FIFA issued a reminder that political interference in the World Cup bidding process is forbidden under its statutes.
A win would mean Canada would play in the tournament for the first time since 1986
Since host countries are automatically in the tournament, a win for the “United” bid would ensure that the Canadian Men’s soccer team would be playing in the World Cup.
The last time they did that was in 1986 — in Mexico. The team didn’t make it past the group stage.
Canada’s Women’s team is another story. The women have been in every World Cup since 1995, only missing out on the first Women’s World Cup in 1991.
Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton are the three Canadian cities slated to host matches if the United 2026 bid prevails. The bulk of the matches — 60 in all — would be held in the U.S., with Canada and Mexico hosting 10 each.
Soccer in Canada could be transformed forever due to investment in facilities for a World Cup.
“It would be incredible to have the games in Canada and have kids going to the stadiums and watching games and watching Canada play,” said Paul Stalteri, former Canada captain who played club soccer at the highest level in the German Bundesliga and English Premier League before retiring in 2013.
“Some great things can happen in the long term, not just playing the games at the World Cup but the seeds that can be planted leading all the way up to that World Cup and after for the next generation of players.”
Previous voting scandal
The last time FIFA voted on a host nation was in 2010, which prompted a litany of corruption scandals related to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
That was with the old voting system, where the executive committee made the final decision about who would host.
Several members of that committee were later banned from the game after they were caught up in the corruption scandal that engulfed world football’s governing body in 2015.
Under FIFA’s new system for choosing the host nation for the lucrative tournament, all eligible football federations who attend congress will be given a vote.
— With files from Reuters and Rahul Kalvapalle
WATCH: First person in FIFA bribery case sentenced to 8 months in prison
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.