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Los Angeles moves one step closer to hosting some 2026 World Cup games

Los Angeles is among 17 U.S. cities that could serve as host sites for the 2026 World Cup should the group seeking to bring the tournament to North America prove successful in its bid.

The three-nation United Bid Committee, which represents Mexico, Canada and the U.S., must submit its final application paperwork to FIFA, the global governing body for soccer, on Friday. Morocco is the only other country bidding for the 2026 tournament. A winner will be announced during the FIFA Congress on June 13.

Other U.S. metropolitan areas that could host games include the San Francisco Bay Area, New York/New Jersey, Seattle and South Florida. Financial concerns prompted Chicago and Vancouver to withdraw from consideration earlier this week. Three Mexican cities — Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey — also made the list, as did Canadian cities Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton.

If the United Bid wins the right to hold the World Cup, the list of 23 host cities will be trimmed by FIFA to 16.

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The Los Angeles market staged the finals of the 1994 World Cup and the 1999 Women’s World Cup, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The 1994 tournament remains the best-attended and most financially successful of the modern era, and Southern California is expected to receive serious consideration to host the 2026 final. The NFL stadium under construction in Inglewood is the likely site.

Last month, the Los Angeles City Council balked at the contract provided by the United Bid Committee, which would have required the city to pay for services such as police, even if games were played at the Rose Bowl. The council relented after a private group agreed to ease the financial burden.

TheBreaker, a Canadian news outlet, reported that it had obtained a copy of FIFA’s requirements for governments bidding to become host cities and found that the municipalities had to agree to huge tax breaks for an entire decade. FIFA also requires host communities to pay for security and assume liability should there be a security incident.

With the World Cup expanding to 48 teams and 80 games, the 2026 tournament will be the largest ever — and could be the first shared by three host countries. If the United Bid is successful, 10 games would be played in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the U.S.

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Staff writer Dakota Smith contributed to this report.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11


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