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CONCACAF president is pushing hard to land 2026 World Cup

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CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb has one thing on his mind: Get the 2026 World Cup to North America.

The United States, which played host to the 1994 World Cup, is the early favorite to land the 2026 World Cup but will be competing with confirmed bids from Mexico and Canada.

"Whether it is the United States, Mexico or Canada ... ultimately it doesn't matter which country in CONCACAF hosts it," Webb said at the Gold Cup's opening news conference at the Rose Bowl. "We've made it very clear that 2026 must belong to us."

The process for selecting a host will change from a 25-person selection committee to taking votes from each president of FIFA's 209 federations.

The United States fell six votes shy of hosting the 2022 World Cup, losing out to Qatar.

But 2026 may provide the United States with a golden opportunity. According to FIFA rules, Europe and Asia cannot play host to the 2026 World Cup since the two continents will play host to the previous two (Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022).

And reports surfaced last week linking the 2030 World Cup to an Argentina-Uruguay joint bid to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup, when the two countries met in the 1930 final in Uruguay.

That leaves Africa as the only other eligible confederation, with Morocco an expected bidder, having failed at its four previous bids.

Webb said that when FIFA President Sepp Blatter's term is up in 2015, the new president must realize the potential of a North American World Cup in 2026, which will be 32 years since CONCACAF's last.

"Whoever our next president may be, for any support to come from CONCACAF ... there must be a level of commitment that 2026 will come to CONCACAF," Webb said.

Canada is coming off a highly successful under-20 World Cup in 2007 and will play host to the Women's World Cup in 2015.

If selected, Mexico would become the first country to play host to three World Cups; it hosted the 1970 and 1986 tournaments.

andrew.gastelum@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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