Today, Mexican newspaper Récord reported that Mexico has plans to host the 2026 World Cup — centered around a renovated Azteca Stadium. They will present the plan to FIFA officials in May, when the full FIFA congress meets in Mexico City.
FEMEXFUT President Decio de María wants Mexico to host the World Cup for the third time in its history (the country previously hosted in 1970 and 1986). Some might think the plan is unreal, but given the shady way things work at FIFA and in the Mexican government, it might actually be more than feasible, especially now with the renovated and new stadiums in Monterrey, Guadalajara, Torreón, Puebla and Toluca.
Almost 30 years ago, Mexico was the first nation to host the international competition more than once. Perhaps out of some far-fetched romanticism to be the standard bearers of this honor, FEMEXFUT will be moving forward with their plan. It was during the previous Mexico World Cups of 1970 and 1986 where both Pelé and Diego Maradona made their claim of being the world’s best soccer players.
“We know that a World Cup goes beyond what’s at stake on the field,” De María 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.”
A World Cup in Mexico would bring plenty of excitement. After all, who doesn’t want to see the best soccer players reunited in their country for the most hype international tournament in the world? But beyond the excitement, a dose of skepticism is more than healthy. Given the current FIFA scandals, and Brazil’s troubling experience during the 2014 World Cup (which led to mass protests), many would argue that Decio should think twice before taking on such a monumental task. The saying “be careful what you wish for” applies very well here.
Another (probably better) possibility would be for a shared 2026 World Cup between Mexico, the U.S., and Canada; this way any single government would be relieved of taking the financial burden that a World Cup represents. This could very well be a possibility as it is well-known that the U.S. wants to host the 2026 World Cup too.
Last month, we reported that FIFA President Gianni Infantino would support an Argentina-Uruguay bid for the 2030 edition of the tournament, which will be the 100th anniversary of the first-ever World Cup (that competition took place in Uruguay in 1930). Japan and Korea co-hosted the 2002 edition of the competition, so a North American 2026 cup is definitely possible, although FEMEXFUT has not yet mentioned this in particular. For now, we’ll just have to wait a little more – at least until May – to see how Mexico’s plan shapes up.