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FIFA World Cup 2026: Venue selection delayed due to COVID-19

The final decision on the hosting cities of 2026 FIFA World Cup has been delayed amid Coronavirus outbreak all over the world including hosting countries United States, Canada and Mexico. Football’s biggest governing council FIFA said in a statement on Monday that it would be difficult for them to make a final call on the dates when it will be finalized.

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During the conference call FIFA chief tournaments & events officer Colin Smith and Ex U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn confirmed that 1994 world cup opening match venue Soldier Field will not make final cut for 2026 world cup venues list as Chicago is left out.

“We initially planned that we would finalize the selection process in the Spring of [2021]. Now, obviously, that was based on us having started this in March and conducting at least, I would say, two sets of inspection visits throughout this year in order to finalize that process,” Smith quoted.

“Obviously, now we’ve had to delay that. It’s very difficult to give a final date, because when we don’t know when the start date is.”

FIFA will be making final call on when to organize the meeting to final world cup host cities for 2026 men’s championship.

“The start date of the workshop is tomorrow, but it’s not clear yet when we will be able to come and conduct those inspection visits. I would say that we need a few more weeks yet to see how things develop and then I would say Q3, beginning of Q4 this year we would have a better idea as to the inspection visit schedule and then the time needed for the selection,” Smith added further.

Dan Flynn said in the conference that 2026 world cup final will be played at least with the stadium capacity 80,000. USA hosted 1994 world cup and Flynn believes that 2026 tournament will be spectacular with the co-hosts Mexico and Canada. It’s been more than 20 years since now and 30 more than then when 2026 will be played. So USA will produce a top class event.

“We’ve got 20-plus years of experience since hosting ’94, if you will. I think it takes on a greater role than it certainly did in ’94, but I also think there’s just greater opportunities. Our sport is at a different level than it was pre-’94,” Flynn quoted.

The interesting thing about 23rd FIFA world cup edition that it will have 48 teams for the first time in tournament history. So it will be bigger and better for all.

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