Cincinnati Will Not Be a 2026 FIFA World Cup Host

Host cities throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico were announced June 16.

click to enlarge Cincinnati will not be a FIFA World Cup host city in 2026. - Photo: Peter Glaser, Unsplash
Photo: Peter Glaser, Unsplash
Cincinnati will not be a FIFA World Cup host city in 2026.

The dream is over for now. Cincinnati has not been selected as one of the hosts for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA, which oversees world soccer, announced its World Cup host cities on June 16
. Announcers said that some decisions about host cities were made that day.

The cities that will host the 2026 World Cup tournament are:


United States:
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Kansas City
New York/New Jersey

Mexico City

Cincinnati was among cities or metro regions in North America vying to host FIFA World Cup matches in 2026. For the first time in history, 48 teams will compete in World Cup in contests held across the United States, Canada and Mexico, rather than the current 32-team competition. Quarterfinal matches will be played in the United States. Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval has pushed for the city's inclusion as a World Cup host.

The Queen City launched its bid to host 2026 World Cup matches back in 2017.

"Tonight we learned that Cincy fell short in its bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup," the Cincy Local Organizing Committee posted to Twitter after the announcement. "We want to personally thank this community, our county and city govt officials along with our corporate and civic leaders for supporting us in our efforts to bring the World Cup to Cincinnati."
In October, Cincinnati welcomed FIFA and U.S. Soccer as officials toured Paul Brown Stadium, soccer training facilities, hospitality venues and potential Fan Fest location options. The Cincy Local Organizing Committee has focused on preparing the Cincinnati Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium for FIFA regulations. According to FIFA's guide for bidding for the 2026 World Cup, host stadiums must have a seating capacity of at least 40,000 for quarter-final games, 60,000 for semi-finals and 80,000 for final matches. Paul Brown Stadium currently has a seating capacity of 65,515. The West End's TQL Stadium, where FC Cincinnati plays, has a capacity of around 26,000, making it too small for World Cup action. Additionally, local officials looked at the pitch. The game field in Paul Brown Stadium is synthetic turf, while FIFA regulations require natural grass.

In 2021, the Queen City was named as one of the best soccer cities in the United States. That year, TQL Stadium played host to the United States Men’s National Soccer Team’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Mexico, plus the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (featuring Cincinnati’s own Rose Lavelle) trounced Paraguay during an international friendly there.

The USMNT match was the region's biggest tourism weekend since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, officials said in November.

FIFA's 2022 World Cup will take place Nov. 21-Dec. 18 in Qatar.

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