Friday 17 June 2022, 08:30

President Infantino previews hope, joy and inclusion at first 48-team FIFA World Cup

  • FIFA President welcomes latest milestone on road to the biggest FIFA World Cup

  • Congratulates 16 host cities set to host tournament in Canada, Mexico and the United States

  • Mr Infantino: 2026 will bring “80 Superbowls, 80 incredible games, 80 finals.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is looking forward to a sensational festival of football in 2026, congratulating the selected cities for their successful bids after the announcement in New York, and pledging that they will be blown away by the passion, emotion and inclusivity of the FIFA World Cup™. “I think this part of the world doesn’t realise what will happen here in 2026,” Mr Infantino said to gathered media. “These three countries will be upside down and then flipped back again. The world will be invading Canada, Mexico and the United States with a big wave of joy and happiness, because that’s what football is all about. Football is also the sport of the immigrants, of inclusion and of bringing people together.

“With 48 countries coming and playing at this World Cup, it will be amazing and football by that time here in North America will be at a completely different level. In this part of the world – in these three countries – you are leading the world in so many areas: in economy, in sport, and so on. But in the number one sport in the world which is soccer, or football, you are not yet, and the objective must be that you will be leading the world as well in the world’s number one sport.” Concacaf President Victor Montagliani also spoke about the emotion of bringing a multi-cultural and global tournament to such diverse societies, inspired by football. “We are both sons of immigrants: me in North America and Gianni [Infantino] in Switzerland and football is what probably linked us to our fathers more than anything else,” said President Montagliani. “This trophy means a lot to a lot of people. We can link a lot of our memories in our lives to this trophy so it’s obviously a momentous occasion for our region and for the three countries.” The increase in participating teams from 32 to 48 teams for the 23rd FIFA World Cup means more matches to enjoy as football further expands its true global reach and impact. “These cities will put up a fantastic [FIFA] World Cup. Today, the World Cup has 64 matches. In 2026, the World Cup has 80 Superbowls, 80 incredible games, 80 finals and we must make sure that they are played in the best conditions.”