Sports

Atlanta Could Help Host 2026 FIFA World Cup

Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council, thinks Atlanta’s got a good shot at hosting World Cup matches because of the strength of the local soccer fan base and the presence of facilities like Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council, thinks Atlanta’s got a good shot at hosting World Cup matches because of the strength of the local soccer fan base and the presence of facilities like Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Credit Danny Karnik / Associated Press
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The United States, Canada, and Mexico will together host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Atlanta may get some of the matches.

The international soccer organization picked a combined bid from the three countries Wednesday morning that listed 23 cities as potential hosts.

Now, it’s up to FIFA to select as many as 16 locations to get matches.

“We’re all competing now to be one of those cities, and I think Atlanta really stands at the forefront of all of them when it comes to hosting big sports events,” said Dan Corso.
He’s president of the Atlanta Sports Council, the group helped get the city in the bid.

He predicts FIFA will pick 10 locations in the United States to host matches. Atlanta and Dallas have already been identified as prime picks to host semi-final rounds, though nothing’s certain.

Still, Corso thinks Atlanta’s got a good shot because of the strength of the local soccer fan base and the presence of facilities like Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“The venue’s in place. We have the training sites. We have accommodations, and we have collaboration among a lot of people and organizations that are needed to put on the biggest sporting events in the world, and certainty needed for the FIFA World Cup,” he said.

Corso says the final selection process will kick off in earnest once the 2018 World Cup ends.  That’s when FIFA will come in and work with the committee of North American soccer officials behind the United Bid.

Even without a confirmed hosting berth for the event, Atlanta soccer fans are already excited.

Curtis Jenkins is the president of Footie Mob, an Atlanta United supporter group. He says he’s already had fans asking how they can get tickets.

“An empty stadium isn’t in the making for this game. It will be packed with everybody from whatever countries are represented and then filled out with Atlanta United fans who really want to see a game of that caliber,” he said.

Corso expects it could take FIFA as long as two years to make its final selections.