US, Mexico, Canada to host 2026 World Cup but…
TT Football Association president David John-Williams is happy but not ready to dance following the news that the 2026 World Cup will be played in CONCACAF. At the FIFA Congress yesterday, it was announced that the joint bid by USA, Canada and Mexico won the rights for the 2026 showpiece, where 48 teams will feature for the first time. The CONCACAF region has been awarded six and a half spots. It has not been determined whether all three host countries will get automatic berths.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said it is not guaranteed that Canada, Mexico and USA will get guaranteed berths, as discussions need to take place in the coming weeks and months.
TTFA president David John-Williams joined Infantino in expressing his concern for the qualifying spots allocated for this region.
“It is going to be an exciting World Cup played in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Obviously my concern is the fact that automatic places for these three countries could be a bit unfair unless properly discussed with other countries within the confederation. That is something that needs to be addressed, needs to be talked about and needs to be ventilated properly,” John-Williams told TTFA media.
The US and Mexico are considered CONCACAF powerhouses but Canada have only played in a World Cup once and have struggled to even make the final round of qualifying.
Former T&T World Cup footballer Anthony Wolfe has no problem, however, if Canada are given an automatic spot at the 2026 World Cup, saying T&T must step up to the challenge and earn one of the next three and a half spots that may be available for the rest of the CONCACAF region.
“They lay it across the board that any country or nation hosting the World Cup will qualify automatically. Seeing that this never happen before – that three countries will be hosting the World Cup at the same time – I don’t see any problem in giving Canada a berth,” Wolfe said.
“I think the rest of the countries just have to fight up for the next three spots. Football is a battle...what is the joy of the game? Not everybody will be happy and not everyone can be happy in life at the same time.”
Wolfe added, “Canada, Mexico and USA will be joyful because they going through automatically, (but) the other nations have to fight up. This is football, football is a war.”
Wolfe’s 2006 World Cup teammate Cyd Gray also has no issues if Canada get a spot at the top football tournament, saying, “If the hosts normally get a spot, I think they (Canada) should be inside. If that is the rule, that’s the rule.”
Gray believes T&T are in with a good chance of qualifying, but support must be given to the players. Gray said, “We must have belief in our team. No matter if it might be a difficult task (to qualify), you must have belief in our team. Once we do the right thing and support the players in the right way (we will qualify), because we have the talent here. Give them the top quality teams to play against, so they learn from their mistakes early so when it is time for qualification they could get it right.”
Corneal: Caribbean at disadvantage to qualify.
By Alvin Corneal (Guardian).
Alvin Corneal, a former national player and coach, has welcomed the 2026 FIFA World Cup being held jointly by the United States, Mexico and Canada, but he believes there could be major challenges for T&T and the Caribbean during the qualification process.
Yesterday at the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow, it was announced that the US bid received 134 of 200 votes cast, or 67 per cent, while Morocco tallied 65 votes (33 per cent) to effectively hand the new 48-team world cup to the Concacaf region. One member association voted not to choose either of the two bids.
Corneal, a FIFA analyst for many years said this new development would mean the remaining Caribbean and Concacaf countries will compete for just one spot which will be a tremendous disadvantage to T&T and other regional territories.
Corneal is suggesting that the FIFA should make two spots available for the Concacaf region which will give Caribbean teams a fighting chance of at least one. With Mexico, USA and Canada earning automatic entry into the world cup by virtue of being hosts, Concacaf big guns Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala or Panama could be well placed to take the lone qualifying berth.
Corneal also expressed concerns that visa issues with the United States in the past, may pose a major form of discomfort at the World Cup. “I know fans should be okay with entry into Mexico and Canada, but in the past there were major concerns for people gaining entry into the US because of visas,” Corneal told Guardian Media Sports.
The increase in the number of teams from 32 to 48 will make the staging of the 2026 world cup in three countries possible Corneal said, but he believes the possibility of serious challenges may exist due to the inexperience of the Concacaf teams in hosting world cups. Mexico staged the world cup twice in 1970 and 1986, while the US held its only world cup in 1994 which Brazil won.
David John-Williams, the T&T Football Association (TTFA) president, said it’s always good to see the World Cup in our Confederation.
According to the local football boss: “It is going to be an exciting World Cup played in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Obviously my concern is the fact that automatic places for these three countries could be a bit unfair unless properly discussed with other countries within the Confederation. That is something that needs to be addressed, needs to be talked about and needs to be ventilated properly.”
The three countries will bring the tournament to North America for the first time since 1994. Voters were persuaded by promises of record crowds, record revenues and, perhaps crucially, a record $11 billion in profit for FIFA, world football’s governing body.
The 2026 tournament will be the first time the World Cup is being hosted by three countries, and the first time it will comprise 48 teams. Most of the tournament will take place in the United States. Of the 80 matches, ten will be in Canada, ten in Mexico and 60 in the United States. - Walter Alibey (Guardian).
United 2026. FIFA World Cup returns to our Region.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be staged in Canada, Mexico and the United States. This Wednesday, 13 June, the 68th FIFA Congress convened in Moscow and designated the three countries as the hosts of football’s most prestigious tournament, which by then will be played with 48 teams.
The United Bid received 134 of 200 votes cast, or 67%. Morocco tallied 65 votes (33%), and one single member association voted not to choose either of the two bids.
The three countries will bring the tournament to North America for the first time since 1994. Voters were persuaded by promises of record crowds, record revenues and, perhaps crucially, a record $11 billion in profit for FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.
Trinidad and Tobago Football Association President David John-Williams, in a reaction to the announcement, stated, “It’s always good to see that the World Cup is in our Confederation.
“It is going to be an exciting World Cup played in the United States, Canada and Mexico.Obviously my concern is the fact that automatic places for these three countries could be a bit unfair unless properly discussed with other countries within the Confederation. That is something that needs to be addressed, needs to be talked about and needs to be ventilated properly,” John-Williams told TTFA Media.
The North American bid routed its only challenger after which members of the winning delegation leapt out of their seats to embrace one another and celebrate the end of a frenzied period of lobbying.
The 2026 tournament will be one of firsts. It will be the first time the World Cup is hosted by three countries, the first time it has a 48-team format, up from 32 teams, and it was the first time the vote was decided by FIFA’s entire membership. Most of the tournament will take place in the United States. Of the 80 matches, 10 will be in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the United States.
The last time the men’s World Cup was held in North America was when the United States hosted in 1994. It was held in Mexico in 1970 and 1986. Canada has never hosted.
North American bid leaders have been on the road since April, visiting voting nations. The lobbying paid off as they rode to victory on a wave of support from the Americas, Europe and Asia, plus a few votes poached from Africa, whose regional soccer president, Ahmed Ahmed, issued a bombastic plea to his members on Tuesday, urging them to vote for Morocco as a symbol of African unity.
Three Spots for Concacaf?
Among the first questions for FIFA after the announcement was whether all three North American host countries would get automatic spots for the tournament, which is customary for the host nation. The answer was: not yet. FIFA President Gianni Infantino said discussions on the topic of automatic bids would take place in the coming weeks and months, and US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said earlier this week that he had not concerned himself with the issue yet. He noted, however, that Concacaf’s allotment of 6½ berths in the new 48-team tournament would be unaffected by the hosting decision.
Carlos Cordeiro, the president of U.S. Soccer, wiped away tears before making a short speech in which, with his voice trembling, he thanked FIFA’s membership for “the incredible privilege” of hosting sports’ most-watched event.
“It was a very emotional moment for everyone,” Cordeiro said later, recalling the devastation he felt in 2010 when the United States failed to secure the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, which ended up going to Qatar after a much-criticized voting process.