A day before the FIFA World Cup 2018 began, the FIFA Congress met on Wednesday to decide the venue for 2026. The joint North American bid won the majority of vote by 134-65, making US, Canada and Mexico as the hosts of the World Cup. Meanwhile, Spain football federation announced the decision to sack Real Madrid bound coach Julen Lopetegui just a day before the start of the football tournament in Russia.
FIFA 2018: Highlights
FIFA World Cup 2026 to be held in USA, Canada and Mexico
The 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada after FIFA’s congress voted on Wednesday to back the tri-nation joint bid for the tournament. The North American bid beat the rival Morocco proposal, winning 134 votes to 65 for Morocco.
FIFA Voting - 134 - 65
The United States, Canada and Mexico will jointly host the 2026 World Cup. FIFA member federations voted in favor of the North American bid over Morocco by 134-65. FIFA promises to publish each voter's selection.
The 2026 World Cup will have 48 teams playing a total of 80 games _ 60 are planned in the U.S. and 10 each in Canada and Mexico. All three hosts should get automatic places in the lineup, and each host a game on opening day.
Morocco lost again with its fifth bid campaign in the past 30 years, including to the U.S. for the 1994 World Cup. The 2026 tournament will return to the North American region 32 years after that U.S.-hosted edition. Mexico also hosted in 1970 and 1986.
Canada, US, Mexico win FIFA vote to host 2026 World Cup
The joint North American bid has won the vote. Canada, US, Mexico will host FIFA World Cup 2026.
North America showcase 2026 bid to voters
The North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup has made its final presentations to more than 200 FIFA voters. Presidents of the United States, Canada and Mexico football federations were joined by teenage players Alphonso Davies of Canada, Brianna Pinto of the U.S., and Diego Lainez of Mexico. Davies spoke of being born in a refugee camp in Ghana, before growing up in Canada. Pinto told of bonding with opponents from Iran after an Under-20 international game.
US Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro promised $4 billion ticket revenue for FIFA from 5.8 million people attending the 80-game, 48-team tournament. The 15-minute presentation to leaders of FIFA member federations was to be followed by a presentation from Morocco.
Luis Rubales explains the move
"We have to decided to fire the national coach [Lopetegui]. What we have achieved in getting here is due in great part to him, and we must thank him and wish him luck."
Rubiales on why he sacked Lopetegui "The Spanish national team is the team of all the Spaniards. We only found out just five minutes before that he was leaving for Madrid. The negotiations took place without the RFEF’s knowledge. We found out 5 minutes before the press release. There are ways of behaving.”
Rubiales asked who takes over Spain now, two days before WC opener: “We are going to touch as little as possible. We are working on it. When we know we will tell you.."
SPAIN SACK JULEN LOPETEGUI AS NATIONAL COACH
Spain has sacked national coach Julen Lopetegui as national coach a day before the start of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.
Julen Lopetegui is reportedly staying!
According to reports, following the intervention of players, including captain Sergio Ramos, Spain have decided to retain Julen Lopetegui as the coach.
Spain's press conference delayed
Spain's press conference has been delayed with meetings reportedly continuing between federation, captains and the Spain coach Julen Lopetegui. The reports further suggest that players, who were earlier not interested in getting involved, have suggested that they want him to stay. The federation, on the other end, are inclined towards the sacking
Who will take over Spain's head coach role?
According to reports, Real Madrid bound Julen Lopetegui is set to be sacked as Spain coach. The rumours further add that Sam Allardyce is the favourite to replace him.
FIFA head of finance addresses conference in Moscow
FIFA's head of finance says he ``anticipates strong revenues'' leading to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Thomas Peyer tells member federations that income from broadcasting rights will add up to 53 percent of FIFA's budgeted income of $6.56 billion over the next four years. Around 70 percent is already contracted.
The extra income lets FIFA promise $1.5 million annual grants to each of its 211 member federations. That's a 20 percent increase. FIFA's budget, which is typically conservative and eventually exceeded, calls for a $100 million overall profit through 2022. That should help lift FIFA's cash reserves close to $2 billion.
Mohamed Salah joins Egypt's training
Mohamed Salah, who has been injured since Liverpool's Champions League final, has joined Egypt's training session a day before the start of the World Cup in Russia, news agency AFP reported. It still remains to be seen if the dynamic forward is fit enough to make it to the starting XI of the team in Egypt's first match.
Spain to hold presser amid rumours of Julen Lopetegui sacking
Spain will hold a news conference on Wednesday amid rumours that coach Julen Lopetegui might be sacked, two days before their opening World Cup match against Portugal. The Spanish football federation (RFEF) said on Twitter that the news conference would take place at the team's World Cup base in Krasnodar.
Real Madrid announced on Tuesday that Lopetegui, who had only recently extended his contract with Spain, would take over as their coach next season. The RFEF then said that Lopetegui would leave his job with Spain after the World Cup.
But multiple media reports on Wednesday said that RFEF president Luis Rubiales was so angry at Lopetegui's conduct that he was prepared to fire him immediately. Spain are unbeaten in 20 matches since Lopetegui took over following Euro 2016.
Who all will be casting votes at FIFA ballot?
The definitive figures for 2026 World Cup ballot...
210 members present (no Ghana)
4 bidding nations ineligible
3 US territories will not vote due to conflict of interest
American Samoa will vote because the delegate having a New Zealand passport
Total: 206 eligible voters
New friendship blossoming?
Russian President Vladimir Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino have praised each other's work preparing for the World Cup. Putin had a warm relationship with Sepp Blatter, who led FIFA when Russia was awarded the World Cup hosting rights in 2010. Blatter was ousted and banned in fallout of corruption scandals.
Putin says Infantino ``stood at the helm of FIFA in very complicated times but he is very good as our frontman, as a true fighter.'' The FIFA president has ``always positive sentiment toward our country,'' Putin says.
With hundreds of thousands of fans expected to travel to the World Cup, Putin says visitors should ``feel the hospitality and welcoming nature'' of Russia.
Infantino praises Putin for ``making us feel part of the same team'' and thanks him ``from our hearts.''
Sepp Blatter joins the action
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter is claiming credit for Morocco not being eliminated by inspectors as a candidate to host the 2026 World Cup, allowing the North African nation to take on the joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada in Wednesday's vote. Blatter, who was ousted from power at FIFA in 2015 over financial misconduct, has publicly backed the Morocco bid.
He says ``I was fighting for Morocco and for Africa because at a certain time (FIFA) wanted to eliminate Morocco before going to the vote, and now, they are at the vote and I think it's a victory also of my intervention, especially.'' Morocco was scored 2.7 out of 5 by FIFA's inspection task force, which marked the North America bid a 4 in the report last month. Morocco would have been disqualified if it had scored lower than 2.
In April, Blatter had tweeted: ``Just recall a fundamental principal in FIFA: Decision taken in 2011: the congress shall decide on the attribution of the World Cup 2026 - and not any sub-committee or task-force. Each candidate must have the right to make a presentation at the congress.''
Bid for FIFA 2026 in Moscow Today
FIFA is preparing to choose between Morocco and a joint North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup. More than 200 national football federations are to set to vote at around midday local time in Moscow (0900 GMT) at their annual meeting one day before the 2018 World Cup kicks off.
FIFA member must pick between the financial security of the United States-Canada-Mexico bid where all venues are ready, and a Moroccan bid that needs to build or renovate all 14 stadiums for a 48-team tournament.
Mexico has twice hosted the World Cup, in 1970 and 1986, the U.S. hosted in 1994, while Morocco has lost in four previous bid campaigns.