The Santa Clara
April 20, 2017
Over the past week, the head soccer federations from Canada, Mexico and United States came together in Chicago to jointly announce their intention to file a three-nation bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Their proposal is seen as the clear favorite, but a three nation tournament is certainly to host a World Cup.
Under the current plan, the United States would host 60 matches, including the first match and final, while Mexico and Canada would only have 10 matches each. With Mexico having held arguably two of FIFA’s greatest ever World Cups, which saw Pele forever immortalized in 1970 and Maradona become a footballing legend in 1986, hosting only 10 matches is an absolute insult.
To make matters even worse, it is not as if Mexico lacks the infrastructure. Mexico has world class stadiums like the BBVA Bancomer Stadium in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon; Estadio Chivas in Guadalajara, Jalisco and the legendary Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, host of those two World Cup finals. With such great stadium at its disposal, this bid makes a mockery of Mexico’s soccer culture, which is far more passionate and visible than that of the United States.
This goes in equal measure with Canada, who despite having great stadiums, infrastructure and transportation, is also given a lowly 10 matches. Sure, a good argument might be that Canada’s sporting scene is dominated by hockey and that is true; Canada’s only FIFA World Cup appearance was in Mexico, coincidentally, in 1986, where it was eliminated after losing their three group stage matches.
But one must realize that hosting the FIFA World Cup is not exclusively meant for nations with rich soccer history; it’s more about increasing interest in soccer in order to leave a legacy.
That was apparent in the United States after it held the 1994 World Cup. Soccer became a bigger sport in American society, so much so that just two years later Major League Soccer was established.
A one-nation bid would suffice and bring much more success than an unfair three nation approach. If that were the case, which country should host the World Cup?
There are different perspectives for which to evaluate this hypothetical change in bidding. In terms of proven historical success, Mexico has the edge without a doubt.
But if FIFA were choosing on the basis of sporting infrastructure, the United States would be the winner. While Mexico and Canada may have some good stadiums, they don’t compete with the United States.
And if FIFA wanted to stir up interest in soccer, the edge would go to Canada. With hockey entrenched as the dominant sport, there’s much work to be done before soccer can stamp its authority and become a major player in Canadian society.
At the end of the day, the United States should host the World Cup. Their infrastructure can’t be overlooked and there’s still a long way to go before soccer is a premier sport in the United States.
Eduardo Ruano is a first-year computer science and engineering major.