The United States hosted the most-attended World Cup in history in 1994, but the quadrennial tournament hasn’t been back on American soil since then. However, that could all be on its way to changing according to Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general.
Valcke spoke to Brazilian newspaper Globo, hinting that the scenes from the United States during this World Cup could give them a future World Cup.
“What we see in the United States is staggering,” said Valcke, via TheMail.com in the UK. “The audience is unprecedented, more than the NBA. The country has the largest level of youth soccer in the world, 20 million young people playing. There is a commitment from FIFA to work with US Soccer and I think after 2022, they have an interest in hosting the 2026 World Cup.”
According to reports, the 2014 World Cup saw the United States games averaged more viewership than the NBA Finals this year. The NBA Finals featuring LeBron James, Tim Duncan and a host of other superstars.
It’s interesting to note that Valcke speaks of interest on the part of the United States Soccer Federation, especially since the United States bid for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. FIFA controversially decided to go with Russia and Qatar as hosts for the respective tournaments.
Sunil Gulati, the head of the USSF and a member of FIFA’s executive committee, has previously stated the United States may be interested in bidding for the 2026 tournament. But he has also said it would only happen with changes to the rules for bidding. The call for change in the rules comes on the heels of corruption charges in both the 2018 Russian and 2022 Qatari bids.
As we’ve seen with FIFA over the years, a lot can change between now and 2026. However, the fact that FIFA is openly talking of the United States as a potential host gives a good indication of where they would like to see the tournament played.