The 2018 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Russia on Thursday without the United States national team، CBS Sports reported. However، on Wednesday، the day before the opening match، the 68th FIFA Congress will take place in Moscow where the head of every soccer federation will select the host of the 2026 World Cup in a public vote. There are only two bids approved for the final vote: Morocco and the North American joint bid of the United States، Mexico and Canada.
The United States has not hosted a World Cup since 1994. Mexico has hosted once in 1970 and again in 1986 after Colombia backed out of hosting duties due to economic reasons. A men's World Cup games has never been played on Canadian or Moroccan soil.
Here's everything you need to know about Wednesday's big announcement:
When is the vote?
The FIFA Congress will take place on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Moscow time، which is 2 a.m. ET. The voting process won't take place until the back-end of the meeting (click here for the agenda).
Can we watch?
The vote will be streamed on FIFA.com. Fox Sports will break into programming at 6:30 a.m. ET and beIN Sports will do the same half-an-hour earlier at 6 a.m. ET، which means you can stream it on fuboTV (Try for free).
How does voting work?
Of the 211 of FIFA's member associations (countries that participate in FIFA events and follow FIFA guidelines)، all except the bidding nations receive one equally-weighted vote So that means 207 federations will vote. A simple majority vote (over 50 percent) is required، which means the North American bid would need 104 votes in its favor.
There is a bizarre and incredibly rare scenario where the two bids involved get rejected. From FIFA:
In the event that the 68th FIFA Congress decides not to choose either of the candidates، FIFA will then launch a new procedure by inviting all member associations – except the four that are taking part in the current process – to submit a bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Do we know who some countries are supporting?
As the New York Times points out، many countries or regional federations have publicly declared who they intend to vote for. For example، practically every South American and Central American federations have publicly supported the North American bid، so that should result in at least 20 votes. Many African federations have supported Morocco. The same goes for countries like France and Belgium، which should mean that the Moroccan bid has close to 20 votes already in the pocket.
United States president Donald Trump has called on African nations to support the North American bid.
What does FIFA think of the bids?
It's safe to assume that the bid evaluation report that FIFA released will certainly impact some voting members. Morocco's bid received a score of 2.7 out of 5، while the North American bid scored 4.0 out of 5. The Morocco bid was marked high risk for stadiums، accommodation، accommodation and transport، which means those are areas of major concern. Morocco's bid also scored down the middle in team and referee facilities، transport، security and safety and much more. Out of 20 categories، Morocco scored low risk in just seven، while the North American bid scored low in all but three.
How's the North American bid group feeling?
I touched base with Neil Buethe، U.S. Soccer spokesman، and I asked him what the general vibe is within U.S. Soccer with the vote looming. He said the following: "We are confident but humble. Still a lot of work to do before the vote."
Is there any campaign work left before the vote?
U.S. Soccer، along with the federations of Canada and Mexico، is campaigning hard. All three federations are giving short presentations to all six continental confederations، and they are also meeting individually with member associations to showcase why they believe their bid is the best، Buethe told CBS Sports.