Although the 2022 World Cup is still on the horizon this year, FIFA is already putting plans in place for future tournaments, with ambitious options to grow the competition.
Plans to expand the competition from 32 to 48 teams were rejected before Qatar 2022, but FIFA have confirmed the change will come into effect for the 2026 tournament.
The 2022 World Cup will mark a series of historic firsts, as the first World Cup in the Middle East, and the very first version of it to be held during the winter months.
However, the 2026 incarnation will be the first to be hosted jointly by three countries, in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and a test for the controversial expansion to 48 nations.
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When is the next World Cup?
The 23rd FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in June and July 2026, with an expanded format due to the increase in squads.
The decision to increase the number of qualifying teams was initially criticized – mainly by UEFA countries – but FIFA confirmed its decision on all aspects of the North American tournament.
Current FIFA rules state that the door is open to any nation/national federation to bid for the 2030 World Cup, provided they have not previously hosted the competition twice, Europe or America. Latin being the most likely options.
Where is the 2026 World Cup?
The trio of nations hosting the 2026 World Cup – the United States, Canada and Mexico – will split the games between them with some group stage games based in one country to reduce travel.
Canada has confirmed two venues, Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton and BMO Field in Toronto, as well as three in Mexico such as Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Estadio BBVA in Monterrey and Estadio Akron in Guadalajara.
The United States will cover the majority of matches with 11 stadiums to choose from among 17 potential options offered by the tournament organizers.
This list will be reduced as plans ramp up over the next two years with the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami all set to remain as host venues.
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Where is the 2030 World Cup?
Although a confirmed decision on the hosts of the 2030 competition is not expected until 2024, there has been sustained interest from Morocco and Spain-Portugal, as well as two combined bids from four nations involving Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece in Europe and Uruguay, Argentina. , Paraguay and Chile in South America.
FIFA will conduct further viability studies in each country after the 2022 World Cup, with current rumors pointing to a return to Europe after South Africa in 2010, Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018 and the Qatar this winter.
FIFA World Cup Host Rotation
FIFA implemented a policy of rotating World Cup hosting duties following political and sporting pressure after the 1950 World Cup.
With CONEMBOL (South America) and UEFA (Europe) the two dominant federations within the developing tournament, FIFA were keen to satisfy both teams, after successive World Cups in Europe in the 1930s in Italy and in France.
The policy of direct rotation between Europe and Latin America continued until 1970, when Mexico (CONCACAF) was added to the cycle, followed by Japan and South Korea in 2002 (AFC ) and South Africa in 2010 (CAF).
However, FIFA has confirmed its decision to end the policy after the 2018 World Cupthe practice being considered outdated as member federations were not always ready to step in when needed, with suitable offers being rejected as a result.