MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexico reiterated Friday its wish to host the 2026 World Cup and try to become the first country to organize the tournament three times, said Mexican Soccer Federation president Decio De Maria.
Mexico, in 1970 and 1986, is one of five countries to host the event twice. Italy (1934 and 1990), France (1938 and 1998), Brazil (1950 and 2014) and Germany (1974 and 2006) are the others.
''We know that a World Cup means beyond what's a stake on the field,'' De Maria said at a press conference. ''Being the host of the biggest party in the world is an honor and it means a lot for the country. In due time, Mexico will hold the hand high and follow up with the FIFA procedures to hold the tournament.''
Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the next in 2022.
This is not the first time that the Mexicans made public their wish to host the World Cup. A couple of years ago, former soccer federation president Justino Compean also said it.
''This country deserves a third World Cup, we know that the race will be tough. Canada and the United States will probably want to host it as well,'' Compean said in December 2014. ''We think we can organize it, it depends on new stadiums and government support.''
Compean resigned last August and De Maria was appointed as his successor.
The Mexican teams have been busy in the last few years investing In new stadiums. Santos created the TSM in 2009, Chivas constructed the Omnilfe in 2010 and Monterrey built the BBVA stadium last year. Tigres, last year's Copa Libertadores runner-up, will build a new one by 2018.
Besides, Puebla's Cuauhtemoc stadium was remodeled last year with a $40 million investment. Currently, the legendary Azteca stadium is being adapted to celebrate its 60th anniversary and to host NFL games in the next few years.
''It means a big commitment but I think that most Mexicans will feel very proud to organize a third World Cup,'' said De Maria. ''As soon as the process begins within FIFA, Mexico will be present.''