North American bid for 2026 World Cup backed by Oceania

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) The United States, Canada and Mexico bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup is supported by the 11-nation Oceania soccer confederation.

Oceania says it also agrees the bid should have ''an exclusive period of negotiation'' with FIFA for the next year.

The 211 FIFA member federations can decide on May 11 to give the North American neighbors a March 2018 deadline without rivals to show their bid is technically sound.

The bid launched this month is currently FIFA's only realistic option for the expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026. FIFA rules bar European and Asian members from bidding.

Oceania's FIFA vice president, David Chung, says ''it makes sense on a rotational basis'' for the 2026 edition to return to North America for the first time since the U.S.-hosted 1994 tournament.

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