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Canada planning to bid for 2026 World Cup

World Cup trophy


Canada is dreaming big. World Cup big.

The Canadian Soccer Association announced Thursday they intend to bid for the 2026 men’s World Cup as part of their 2014-18 strategic plan. If successful, it would be the first World Cup in North America since the U.S. hosted in 1994.

“Canadian soccer is growing up,” said CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli in a statement. “Expectations are higher. It is a sign that soccer in Canada is maturing, and an indication of its increasing relevance as the largest participation sport in Canada.”

Canada is slated to host the women’s World Cup in 2015, but its decision to play the final on artificial turf has been controversial. U.S. Women’s National Team star Abby Wambach and others have openly criticized the decision, calling it gender discrimination and a safety issue.

It’s unclear whether Canada’s bid for a men’s World Cup will include all grass fields, but a World Cup has never been played on artificial turf before. In 2010, South Africa hosted on grass fields that had been reinforced with synthetic fibers for a grass-turf hybrid.

While Canada has been climbing the ranks as a leader in women’s soccer, the nation does not have as much clout in the men’s game. The men are currently ranked 111th in the world and appeared in a World Cup just once, in 1986.

“While our international prominence in the women’s game has made significant inroads in the last several years,” the strategic plan reads, “our men’s program needs further investment and commitment so that we reach new heights in the global game. Hosting one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world will act as a catalyst for the growth of soccer in our country.”

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati has said the U.S. would bid again if the process was transparent. The U.S. had pushed to host the World Cup in 2022, with the bid having the support of President Barack Obama and FIFA President Sepp Blatter, but lost to Qatar in a secret ballot.

Colombia and Mexico have reportedly already confirmed plans to bid for the 2026 World Cup.


What do you think of this news? Would Canada be a good host for the World Cup? Could they beat out countries like Colombia and Mexico? Should they use the same type of fields as they use for the women’s World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. How many new stadiums would they have to build? I guess the CFL would have 9 so maybe that would be enough? I would guess most of those would have to be modified or expanded to reach World Cup size. Of course no one can compete with the huge American Football Stadiums for attendance numbers.

  2. The second best thing to the US hosting a World Cup would be Canada.

    So if we aren’t bidding, might as well get behind Canada’s bid.

  3. The US winning a bid certainly would have been nice, but in light of history and how soon it had been since our last and our standing in the soccer world, I had plenty of skepticism. Having spent an incredible year and a half of my life there, I was pulling for Australia and think that would have been all time.

    Canada… why the heck not??? Safe, clean country, good infrastructure, better people and a short flight away… maybe even a RV roadtrip. Being so close to the US and Mexico 2 of the largest WC consumers, absolutely guaranteed they sell every game out. All over this. Unfortunately, those making the decisions w/ FIFA aren’t looking to make the best choice to benefit, soccer, of even FIFA, they are looking to line their own pockets and be long gone before the games are ever played.

    • Better people? So now Fifa will award the WC to countries with superior people? The Canadians-are-nicer axiom from Americans just bespeaks elitism and self-loathing. That’s not a slag on Canadians, but on those who cite their supposed superiority as an excuse to look down on everyone and feel better about themselves.

      Let’s say that you’re right, though. You should serve as a consultant to the CSA’s organizing committee. “Come to Canada, where the people are better.” That’s a winner of a slogan.

      • LoL Take a breath Moon. Was a turn of phrase….. good infrastructure the people even better I suppose I should have said. Better? Elitist self loathing… maybe a little over the top don’t you think? Perhaps I’m secure enough with myself and my home to be able to to see there are good people and places elsewhere. Curious to know what drives your defensiveness and impassioned response to all things Canadian? A Canuck run over your dog?

  4. “It’s unclear whether Canada’s bid for a men’s World Cup will include all grass fields…”

    Of course it will, if they’re at all serious about it.

    Which will then just underscore the point of Wambach, et al.

  5. I think this is an olive leaf from Canada for a joint bid. On paper, it is a great idea. The WC here in 1994 was one of the most successful ever – every game sold out. MLS over the years has thrived, and has successfully expanded into Canada. One can see further expansion up north – maybe Calgary?

    Also consider the obviously corrupt bidding process in FIFA that landed Russia and Qatar. The Olympics start in Sochi next month, and ticket sales are way down. Will the WC be any better? After FIFA takes a public relations beating from the fans for Russia and Qatar, they won’t ask for envelopes stuffed with unmarked bills for their vote. They’ll need stability and to win fans back.

    • I’m confused by the whole joint-bid talk. Canada has enough large cities to host the event. Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Hamilton, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, I believe the minimum is 8 cities. There”s 9 right there same as South Africa,.

      • Canada does not have the stadium infrastructure currently. Let’s review:
        (1) Vancouver: would not need much upgrading. Just renovated for 0.5 Billion $$$$.
        (2) Toronto: Stadium will be closing in on 35 years old by 2026. Certainly does not have the capacity, would have to be expanded. Based on the cost of expanding BC Place, let’s say at $250M in today’s dollars.
        (3) The Big O. Built for the ’76 Olympics. How much did it cost to renovate the Maracana in Rio? Let’s be real. If BC Place were $500M, then the Big O would probably be in the same ball park.
        (4) Commonwealth in Edmonton: Probably not terribly expensive to expand, but to get it up to modern standards, let’s say another $50M.
        The next question is where would the other 6 stadiums be located? Looking at CFL infrastructure, one might argue Ottawa is building a stadium. Expand it by 14K. Who knows. $50M. That leaves Calgary, Winnepeg, Hamilton with existing stadiums. Hamilton would not even be close. Would the all metal bleachers of Winnipeg satisfy FIFA? Calgary would also need significant upgrades. In today’s dollars, we are looking at a minimum of $2B in infrastructure. In 2026 $ that is probably well over $3B. Since it would take getting multiple municipalities and governments to kick in major tax-payer dollars, I don’t see this happening.

        Therefore, a joint bid makes sense. Use Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The other 7 cities could be in clustered in the Northern USA.

      • Why would the US want to share with Canada? Makes no sense for us, it would count as our cup and only half would be here, wouldn’t be a good business move for the USSF.

      • Because we put up one of the two best bids for 2022 (the other being Australia) and we were beat by an oil rich nation in the name of “expanding to new areas and regions”. Canada, while not a new region will have a novelty factor about it which could help cement the bid. Plus everyone loves the friendly Canadians.

  6. I find it interesting that a country that boasts of its inablility to form its own league should make noise about its appropriateness as a World Cup host. But that’s Canada. For all of its politeness- a euphamism for soulless benignity – it’s pathetically dependent and always looking to have things both ways. Canada may be the only G8 country never to have held a WC, but it’s also to only G8 country to be so selective with its ambitons that it refuses to consider having its own league. An increasingly independent and powerful USSF will do the dirty work that MLS and its cash-hungry owners won’t: it’ll show the Canadian teams the door. MLS will compensate the owners with the cash paid by the owners of US teams that will replace them. Preposterous? Well, consider a World Cup in Canada. Given one, nothing is preposterous.

    • What on earth! This rhetoric is inane. It does not hurt MLS or US soccer development to have teams in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. First of Toronto used to be one of the shining lights of the MLS in terms of attendance. In fact, all three do well. Additionally, we had the world 19 years ago. Let someone else host it. We are not entitled to it.

      • I didn’t say that the US was entitled. But the US was committed to forming its own league. Canada is not. The three Canadian teams contribute to MLS, but MLS does not depend on them. Anyway, does Canada really wish to be the only World Cup host without its own league? The questions asked and points made are far from inane. If anything, they force Canada to ask of itself. Arguments that stray from your correct thinking, by the way, are not mere rhetoric.

      • I’ll add that MLS is a United States league, not a Canadian league, that permits, through the whims of the USSF, teams from Canada. In fact, votes were never taken on Montreal and Vancouver. The vote on Toronto was contentious. Sure, those teams have contributed. But they’re not American teams. They occupy spots that other US cities could occupy. And as long as they insist that they have the “right” to compete in someone else’s league, they’re turning their backs on their own country. So who’s anti-Canadian? The Yank who tells them to do their own thing? Or the hip Torontonian, Montrealer,or Vancouverite who refuses to be part of something native?

      • I’d like to know which three cities, having their fan bases, their deep-pocketed owners, their well-healed television markets, and their SSS’s built and ready to go are being denied entry to the MLS at the expense of of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver?

        Also, is having a league a pre-requisite in the FIFA bylaws for hosting? We didn’t have one in the USA in ’94, so this must be a new rule you cite.

      • The US was given the 94 WC under the condition that it form its own league. The announcement was made on July 4, 1988. MLS, in fact, faced competition from another group. USSF sanctioned MLS. And, by the way, MLS was meant to begin in 1995. The launch date was put off and the world soccer community, including Canadians, howled.

        If Canada wishes to host a WC twelve years from now, it will be asked to form its own league. That league should include clubs from its three larges cities. See, right away there’s a distinction: the US always wanted its own league and would do anything for it.

        Regarding the USSF role vis-a-vis Canada’s teams, remember that they require permission to compete in MLS. Decisions need to be made on a case by case basis (as of today,no votes have been taken on Montreal and Vancouver). If Canada’s right to compete in the US-sanctioned top league is so natural, why, then is the permission required? Furthermore the individual qualities of a city or team cannot automatically qualify it to play in someone else’s league. The USSF’s role is that of protector and even advocate of areas that are in development. If it weren’t for such traditions and rules, we’d be faced with an international superleague that ignores the less glamorous population centers. So its not that the three Canadian cities are unworthy, it’s that they’re not American cities and therefore inappropriate in the long term. Think about it: say the league tops out, as it were, at 24 teams. But interested parties emerge in three or four of, say, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Raleigh, Tampa, etc. “Sorry, gang, the inn is full.” Someone will say, “It is, huh? What about the three foreign teams? Are we more committed to them then to the future of the game in our own cities?”

        That’s why the federation has a role. You may not like that. The questions may make you uncomfortable. But they will be asked very publicly one day, especially if Canada tries for a World Cup.

        By the way, I’d enjoy a World Cup in Canada. By they, though, it’ll have to be conducting itself as a big boy.

  7. I like the idea.
    Good cities, a very welcoming culture, generally strong infrastructure, stable, etc.
    Their soccer prestige isn’t any different than US, Qatar, or South Africa were when awarded world cups.

  8. But Qatar is? Canada? 1000 Canadians were recently polled…’name the most important Canadian in history’….72% of the respondents said … “no one comes to mind”…

  9. The truth is that the US is not enough of a soccer nation to justify another World Cup.
    20 years after our first one all we have to show for it is a Mickey Mouse league with secret rules and a team of mediocre players barely good enough for the English second division.
    Let Canada have it. Maybe they can do something meaningful after it.

    • It’s funny when complain that we should host again when we just hosted it 20 years ago. England hosted it 50 years ago! Mexico last hosted it in 1986. There enough places that I think the you should have to wait at least 5 world cups to submit a bid to host another. Canada could host so could a few others like Australia, China etc.

      • The US hosted in 1994. 2018 would have been the sixth World Cup since then and 2022 would have been the seventh. That fits into your “wait 5 world cups to submit” idea.

  10. Hamilton! Saskatoon! Fort McMurray! Feel the excitement, eh?

    seriously if it’s Canada+Northern U.S., I’d be all for it, assuming Chicago actually gets involved here (the loss of 2016 olympics, being shut out of final U.S. list for WC 2022 and then U.S. losing the 2022 bid altogether were too many gut punches)….

    Vancouver+Seattle+Calgary host a couple of groups

    that’s 12 cities right there…

      • They have a big stadium there with an upgrade for the BlueBombers in the future plans. It could be expanded if necessary since it’s on a piece of land that has some extras space. By June/July the grass will be nice.

        If it were up to me, I’d drop Calgary from that idea and sub in Portland, and then add Green Bay for Winnepeg. How cool would some games at Lambeau be? Oh yeah, I’m from Wisconsin, so maybe not so cool others.

  11. Canada should get their own league that is the only way they will truly improve in the long run. Soccer isn’t like hockey, they would be better served with more teams so they can groom Canadian players in their own country. MLS needs to stop adding more Canadian teams there are more cities in America that could support a MLS team.

      • Teams playing in leagues of other countries is not uncommon. The major ones off the top of my head are Cardiff and Swansea City (based in Wales but play in England), AS Monaco in France, and Wellington Phoenix (New Zealand in Australia). Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are major cities in North America and rank among some of the biggest when included with American and Mexican cities. They however have unfortunate geography and most of their population lives in and around these few cities. They would not be able to practically support a league that would be able to compete with MLS or Liga MX.

        You know MLS will eventually expand to the size of MLB or the NFL (30-32 teams) so whats wrong with including a few Canadian teams from major metro centers into the league, especially when we do it with all of the other big 4, minus the NFL?

    • Agreed Human.

      I stated this in some of the expansion threads. There are many deserving US and Canadian cities. If Canada had their own league, it would definitely help them improve and more US cities could get MLS teams improving soccer here in America. It would also make the CCL a bit more interesting as well.

    • I don’t see MLS letting the Canadian teams just walk, not saying it’s impossible, just crazy unlikely. Second, while Canada is a large country, most of the population lives along the U.S. boarder ( as most of the northern part of the country is really cold!) Third, they don’t have as many metropolitan areas, so you’d be looking at a league that resembles something like the SPL, 12-14 at most, and cities getting two teams.

      I think that as is, if Canada’s bid is attractive enough, they could stand a good chance as is.

  12. They need to have a “special payments to FIFA officials” fund. It’s gonna be a waste of time without it. Oh, never mind, FIFA is fixing the bribery culture, so may the best bidder win.

    • Yeah seriously. I hope the USSF stays out of the bid process until the process is defined like how Gulati said they would. It’s pointless to put resources into a bid when the requirements to host the 2026 WC is A.) North American Country B.) Country’s name starts with a ‘C’ and ends with an ‘A’…. in that case good luck Canada! oh and watch Cuba pull the upset.

    • Immediately what I thught. Went there for my bachelor party took 12 guy who’ve never been and theyve since gone without me twice. I will b 44 and will not leave Montreal for those 4 weeks.

      • Please tell me you’ve actually watched Qatar’s bid video and what their plans are for the WC they intend to host. Trust me I am no fan of a lot of things Qatar and severely upset that FIFA can’t recognize the potential that a USA WC would have on the sport but if Qatar pulls off the type of things they say they are going to do then it is going to be an amazing tournament and experience for any traveling supporter. What it will do for their nation? as Sepp Blater apparently holds in high regard………once again, couldn’t care less

        Bottom-line is Qatar will be amazing

      • I will believe it when I see it, because as we all know, a big part of their pitch was their new revolutionary cloud seeding and air conditioning systems that would make a desert climate in the middle of summer feel like an early fall afternoon. It is just a bunch of hot air until they pull it off.

  13. Stadiums? Grass fields? A team? A domestic league of their own? Don Cherry and Rob Ford? That that are even thinking about this made me laugh, but full credit to all the other posters here for further brightening my afternoon.

  14. Best if luck to them
    People seem to forget that the Only reason MLS exists is because FIFA forced its creation for the US holding the 94 WC

  15. Granted I am no expert but what a weak federation we seem to have… Canada and Mexico both bidding and it would not surprise me to see US enter the fray…why would you have your 3 major players in terms of resources be competing with each other? Makes no sense as I currently understand it.

    • I think this is a product of being 12 years before this WQ. I expect once serious bidding commences that the field with thin. I can’t see Canada being a serious bidder w/o using some US stadiums

      • Agreed. Based on a quick Wikipedia search, Canada currently has 7 stadiums with a current capacity of 30,000 or more (I believe 30,000 is FIFA’s mandated smalled allowable capacity for a World Cup stadium, though I could be wrong) and all of them have either Fieldturf or Astroturf. Two of them would be less than ideal as venues as well (Olympic Stadium, which is permanently domed and Rogers Centre which is primarily setup for baseball though a CFL team does play there).

        I would imagine that it would be a joint bid ala Korea-Japan with Canada hosting the final. For ease of travel I would imagine they would try and enlist at least a few of the following: Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis when their new open air NFL stadium is built, Boston, Buffalo or New York. Of course by the time the bid process comes around Portland may have expanded their facility and perhaps there would be viable stadiums in Indianapolis or Detroit.

    • IF Canada gets awarded a World Cup over the US, then I want Canada OUT of MLS immediately! Our resources shouldn’t be used to help the World Cup NOT come here, and that is exactly what would be happening.
      I’m sorry but we are to the point where every Canadian team in MLS is costing potential US MLS cities, so that is a hard enough pill to swallow. But if they get the World Cup over us…that’s just too much in exchange for a TV deal with TSN and three well supported clubs.

      • Nothing ignorant in there at all. Would Canada have a league as good as MLS if it were on its own? No.
        Would MLS replace the 3 Canadian teams rather quickly? Yes, as evident of the teams that have been announced since TFC came into the league.
        Is Canada benefiting from American resources being used by MLS? Yes, remember they get a cut of the awesome TV deal that was just signed which in all likely good was really signed because MLS was ties to USMNT broadcast rights.
        At the rate we are going we are likely going to see a St.Louis, a Minneapolis, a Sacramento, or a San Antonio never get a team in MLS while three Canadian sides are in the league.

      • Ignorance to an astounding level. Sure, Canada would not have a decent or even sub-par league without the infrastructure of MLS, however MLS is very similar to other major American leagues, salary caps, revenue sharing, trades as opposed to buying players and oh…Canadian teams save for the NFL.

        There is a very real possibility that at some point down the line MLS could expand to 30-32 teams and be split into conferences or leagues like the NFL or MLB. At that point you are talking about scrapping the bottom of the barrel of American cities capable of supporting a still somewhat niche sport. Why would you not want to include Toronto (4th largest city proper population in N. America and 5th by metro pop), Montreal (9th and 15th) and Vancouver (23rd by metro pop) in a league looking to compete with the big boys and attract millions and eventually billions in sponsorships and TV rights? Asinine is the word that comes to mind.

        Do I think we need any more Canadian teams, probably not, though you could make a case for Calgary. If the inclusion of Canadian teams helps increase the strength of the brand and increase the level of skill overall at the national team level in Concacaf, I am all for that. A better league and better quality competition within our own region will only help us. Those are my $0.02 anyways.

    • If hosting a World Cup is about growing the game and building infrastructure, then hosting duties should go to India, China, or Australia. If it’s about who will offer the best bribes to FIFA executives, than Qatar is the best choice. If, on the other hand, it’s about having a safe and profitable event, then the USA or Canada are perfect. Sunil Gulati is right to decline to bid until FIFA explains its judging criteria.


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