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2026 World Cup events should come to DFW

July 24,2020

See full Fort Worth Star Telegram article by Mac Engel here.

When the World Cup comes back to the United States, North Texas figures to be a major host, unless they are defeated by a bribe.

When it comes to FIFA, never rule out cash under the table.

On Thursday, members of the Dallas Sports Commission, FC Dallas and the Dallas Cowboys made their collective pitch, virtually, to FIFA representatives in Zurich. It was the first time in approximately two years the Dallas 2026 host committee had any “face to face” with FIFA representatives.

The United States, Canada and Mexico will host the 2026 World Cup. Sixty matches will take place in the U.S., with 10 each in Mexico and Canada, respectively.

Representatives made their pitch to host either group stage matches, a semifinal or finals match. AT&T Stadium is the venue of choice.

The Dallas 2026 host committee presented an array of possibilities for DFW to be used as the International Broadcast Center, regional training facilities for teams in locations from SMU to Frisco to Lewisville.

They also presented Texas Live! in Arlington, Fair Park in Dallas and Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth as destinations for fan fest areas.

There are currently 17 cities being considered in the U.S. to host a 2026 World Cup match. The announcement for the host 2026 sites is expected in the fall of 2021.

Many of the people who are making this pitch on behalf of North Texas were involved the last time the U.S. was upset in this process.

Dan Hunt, President of FC Dallas and the Chairman of the Dallas 2026 host committee, was a part of the group that tried to land the 2022 FIFA World Cup back in 2010.

The U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup, with group matches played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. That ‘94 World Cup is often seen as the launch point for the growth of the sport in the U.S.

Despite what local organizers felt was a can’t miss bid for the U.S. to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, the entire country was “upset” when the international soccer governing body awarded those events to Russia and Qatar.

After the bids to those nations were announced, much of the voting process was discovered to be tainted with bribes and corruption.

The organization then made an effort to “clean up” the selection process. In 2018, the U.S./Canada/Mexico bid was awarded the 2026 World Cup. This will be the first time a World Cup will take place in three nations.

While event organizers in the U.S. are secure knowing it will host the 2026 World Cup, feeling good about anything in this process is always relative.

“We really think North Texas is primed to host a semifinal or the finals,” said Monica Paul, the executive director of the Dallas Sports commission in a phone interview. “This is a regional effort. No one city can do this alone, and we think we have more than enough to offer.”

The upset now would only be if North Texas is not selected as a host in of the 2026 World Cup.

Location Mentioned: Sundance Square Plaza