In June 2018, America, Canada and Mexico were appointed co-hosts of the World Cup in 2026. This tournament will change footballing history, being the first World Cup to be hosted in three different countries and also the first World Cup to have 48 teams. For some, an exciting prospect. For others, a dangerous precedent has been set that will ruin the magic of the World Cup.
In 1998, The World Cup was expanded from 24 teams to 32 teams that meant that more teams from North America, Africa and Asia were able to take part. The World Cup has since been a great tournament where every team at every stage has been capable of upsetting one of the big teams. Although having 48 teams allows an extra 16 teams to previous World Cups, this is only likely to reduce the quality of the football on show. It has only been since 2010 that every team participating has attempted to play well and entertain the fans. Before that, teams were just grateful to enter the World Cup and would do their best not to lose. A 48 team World Cup will be a backwards step as it will feature nations who have never been good enough to qualify for a World Cup, which will see some nations being nervous to attack other teams.
The World Cup in 2018 introduced a FAN ID that allowed fans to travel across Russia free of charge. Having a World Cup across three nations brings potential logistics trouble for travelling fans. Although the World Cup is an event that is supposed to bring people together and celebrate diversity, it is uncertain to know if in the future this will be enabled. US President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to increase security on their southern border with Mexico. He has criticised the Canadian Prime Minister for being weak on immigration. Politics could make travelling between these countries a logistical nightmare. Fans who travel will need reassurance from these three countries, which seem very uncooperative with one another, that they will have a good solution for fans who want to attend matches in all three countries.
There has been much debate and PartyCasino took the opportunity to conduct a survey on the merits of co-hosting. Many USA, Canada and Mexico fans have raised their concerns about whether or not their teams will be entering the World Cup. Traditionally a host nation plays the first match of a World Cup, but there have never been three nations hosting a World Cup before. Rmckinney12 on Twitter stated, “Now we gotta pray we qualify. I can’t wait to be in one of those stadiums.”Tweetfeelsgood also mentions, “How will this work out logistically? The distances are HUGE! Do the teams fly across the continent all the time? And the US, Canada and Mexico all qualify for finals? Is that fair? They are not even friendly to one another the last days…!”
A 48 team World Cup across three countries is unprecedented. FIFA has a lot of work to do to convince fans that this is logistically possible and that they will have access to the matches