Sunil Gulati quells talk of USA-Canada future joint World Cup hosting bid
The USA may bid for a future World Cup, but it will do so on its own.
Speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit along with MLS commissioner Don Garber in New York Thursday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati squashed talk of a potential joint World Cup hosting bid with Canada for the 2026 competition, or any others down the road.
Canada and Mexico have both expressed interest in bringing a World Cup back to the CONCACAF region after the USA was denied the 2022 competition – famously losing out to Qatar – and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb has been adamant about the region hosting the 2026 tournament.
"The FIFA rules are pretty straightforward on this issue at this point, that there's only joint bids allowed in the case of a country that doesn't have sufficient infrastructure or stadiums where you're basically out of necessity," Gulati said. "So in the case of Holland and Belgium there was a joint bid (for 2018 and 2022). After the (South) Korea-Japan first time split World Cup (in 2002) they made that decision. It'd be pretty hard to argue that the U.S. doesn't have the infrastructure, stadiums or anything else needed to put on a World Cup, so if we look at a World Cup in the future at this point we'd be looking to do it ourselves."
To Gulati's point, Canada is going to host the Women's World Cup next summer, proving its ability to put on a tournament of that magnitude on its own as well. Gulati, who also has a place on FIFA's Executive Committee, also reiterated his stance on FIFA needing to reform its bidding process before the USA would consider putting its name up for contention again.
"I think we want to host the World Cup at some point in the future. The 20s sound like a good time, but I've been pretty clear that we want to see some changes made in the process," Gulati said. "In the next couple of weeks we'll have an indication and some comments about that process, and whatever comes out of that I think you'll see some improvements that will come through the World Cup bidding process. The IOC went through this, FIFA has gone through this, I think there's still more to be done, but do we want to host the World Cup in the U.S. again in the future? The answer is of course we do."