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2026 World Cup hosts confirmed as automatic qualifiers; 2030 host vote set for 2024

The 2030 World Cup hosts are due to be picked in September of 2024, FIFA stated on Tuesday, also confirming that the three 2026 World Cup hosts — the United States, Canada and Mexico — all had their expected automatic entries confirmed in the 48-team finals tournament.

FIFA’s ruling council confirmed a timetable for 2030 bidding and a vote to be held in the third quarter of next year by around 200 member federations.

FIFA has long targeted a decision in 2024 for the tournament that is currently calendared to have 48 teams.

A separate election meeting will be held earlier in 2024 to pick a host for the 2027 Women’s World Cup, football’s governing body said.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first edition expanded from the 32-team tournament that was introduced in 1998.

FIFA also picked Saudi Arabia — a potential candidate in the 2030 contest — to host the next Club World Cup from Dec. 12-22 in the latest addition to the kingdom’s sports hosting ambitions.

In the 2030 hosting race, co-hosting bids from South America and Europe have been the expected favorites, with Morocco also in the picture and speculation about a Saudi-led and unprecedented three-continent project.

The inaugural 1930 World Cup host, Uruguay, is part of a centenary bid with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.

Spain and Portugal were joined last October for their longstanding European candidacy by Ukraine.

Morocco committed to taking part in the 2030 contest more than four years ago immediately after losing the vote for the 2026 tournament to the North Americans.

At the World Cup in Qatar in December, Moroccan football federation leader Fouzi Lekjaa was still open to reviving an old idea of Morocco joining its near-neighbors Spain and Portugal in an intercontinental bid.

Saudi Arabia’s ambitions to host more football events have led to unconfirmed speculation of a 2030 bid with Egypt in Africa and Greece in Europe.

It is uncertain how European body UEFA would deal with a member federation joining a rival bid.

Such a bid also would require sending the tournament back to Asia and the Persian Gulf only eight years after Qatar hosted, so a Saudi bid for 2034 could be more realistic.

Steve Carr

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