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NAmerica may face rivals for 2026 World Cup in rapid process

13 May 2017

North America's request for an accelerated awarding of the 2026 World Cup without facing a challenge is on hold, for a few months at least.

FIFA's current rotation policy states that the continental confederation which held either of the previous two events can not bid, ruling Europe and Asia out of the initial 2026 running.

People with knowledge of the situation say FIFA's ruling council has allowed three more months for rival proposals to be presented. Meanwhile, the South American confederation has already throw its support for the 2026 host behind the North American bid, so a bid from Africa is really the only challenger left.

The FIFA Council announced the proposal bidding process for the 2026 World Cup and the allocation of places as part of their preparations for the 67th FIFA Congress.

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FIFA also confirmed that the final two berths will be determined in a six-team intercontinental mini tournament in late 2025 in the FIFA World Cup host nation.

North and central America have six spots as does South America.

The All Whites stood to benefit in this change as the best team in the Oceania confederation since Australia left to join the Asian confederation following the 2006 World Cup. "An open process is a good thing and we're very confident that our bid will be a high quality one".

"We have seen in the past many questions marks around bidding processes", Infantino said.

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"It's an interesting, original proposal and we will discuss it tomorrow at the council and present the recommendation to the congress", Infantino told The Associated Press on Monday in Bahrain at the start of a week of Federation Internationale de Football Association meetings. The 2026 World Cup is the first expanded World Cup with 46 teams. "We have a strong foundation for creating greater opportunities to make football better and prosperous".

Africa is guaranteed nine places, up from the current five, while a 10th nation will enter a six-team play-off tournament to decide the final two qualifiers, raising the potential of an extra place for the continent.

The host country will automatically qualify for the finals and that slot will be removed from its confederation's quota.

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NAmerica may face rivals for 2026 World Cup in rapid process