North America to host 2026 World Cup; Philly in running for games

MOSCOW -- North America will host the 2026 World Cup after FIFA voters overwhelmingly opted for the financial and logistical certainty of a United States-led bid over a risky Moroccan proposal for the first 48-team tournament which might see some games played in Philadelphia.

The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes, while Morocco got 65 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday.

The vote by football federations was public, in contrast to secrecy surrounding the ballot by FIFA's elected board members for the 2018 and 2022 hosts, Russia and Qatar, in 2010.

The U.S. proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games in 2026, when 16 teams will be added to the finals, leaving Canada and Mexico with ten fixtures each.

Philadelphia is among the 23 cities to be selected to host games. Sixteen will be chosen.

"FIFA will decide the host cities in 2020 or 2021. We included 23 candidate host cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States as part of our offer to FIFA to provide maximum flexibility and leverage when making the best choice for where and how to stage the Competition," U.S. Soccer states on its website.

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