Fans tailgate outside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium before the 2017 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game between Alabama and Florida State on Saturday, September 2, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Atlanta among 41 cities to potentially host part of 2026 World Cup

Atlanta is now one of 41 cities that will be considered to host part of the 2026 World Cup.

The United Bid Committee, representing the United States, Mexico and Canada, released a list of cities and stadiums that have submitted bids to be included should FIFA award the three-country bid for the World Cup.

The 48-team world soccer tournament is held every four years.

The official bid to host the World Cup must be submitted by March 16, 2018. In that final United Bid Committee submission, between 20-25 cities will be selected as potential host sites and 12 will be selected as finalists.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is listed with a capacity of 75,000, which would be below the 80,000 capacity needed to host either the opening game or the final, according to the United Bid Committee.  However, the stadium can be configured to reach that minimum.

Atlanta was contacted about being a host city in July. It was later released that 44 cities and 49 venues, including Atlanta, had been contacted.

The U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup. Atlanta wasn’t one of the host cities as it was preparing to host 1996 Summer Olympics.

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