That would leave plenty of time for negotiation and competition, as the bid makes clear: “The (joint) bid offers FIFA 23 qualified stadiums – more than the required number -- and all are ready to compete to offer the best possible experience for players and officials, fans, partners, media, and other stakeholders, giving FIFA maximum flexibility and leverage. The (joint) bid will work with FIFA to select the final 16 stadiums for the competition.”
The bid also recommends either Atlanta or Dallas as host of the international broadcast center during the 2026 event.
A FIFA committee visited Atlanta in April, touring Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta United's training facility.
“The message (to FIFA) is simple,” Atlanta Sports Council president Dan Corso said during that visit. “We are a city that is built to host the biggest sporting events in the world, and the World Cup is that.
“We have the venues – Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Georgia World Congress Center – surrounded by thousands of hotel rooms … in a compact district.”
Corso and others stressed the city’s history of hosting huge sports events, including the Olympics, Super Bowls and Final Fours.
“The World Cup is the one that we haven’t had, so we would love to add that to the roster,” Corso said.
Atlanta’s message to FIFA also emphasized the popularity of the city’s MLS team.
"We tried to give them a sense of how soccer has taken off here in the city of Atlanta and what that could mean for this region, America, Canada and Mexico, if we can get the World Cup in 2026," Atlanta United president Darren Eales said during the April visit.
For the 2026 World Cup, the number of participating teams will increase from 32 to 48 and the number of matches from 64 to 80. If the North American bid prevails over Morocco, 10 matches would be played in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the U.S. The bid proposes MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., as the site of the 2026 final.
But first things first: Wednesday’s vote in Moscow.
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> Braves fans are having a big impact in early voting for the National League All-Star team. See Gabe Burns' story here.
> Julio Jones, apparently unhappy with his current contract, will skip the Falcons' "mandatory" minicamp that begins today. See D. Orlando Ledbetter's report here and Mark Bradley's column here.
> The University of Georgia's dynamo track coach delivers on promise of national championships, DawgNation's Chip Towers writes.