North Americans are on side in going after the 2026 World Cup, according to a survey released by the bid backers.
An online survey conducted by Ipsos for the soccer governing bodies in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., found that 77 per cent of the adults polled were in favour of hosting the first-ever 48-team World Cup.
Eighty-one per cent of respondents thought hosting the event would be good for their specific country. And nearly six in 10 said they would be interested in attending matches if they were nearby.
Support for hosting the tournament was 76 per cent in Canada, 74 per cent in the U.S. and 83 per cent in Mexico.
The North American “united bid” is up against Morocco.
An opportunity to grow
“We’ve very excited and encouraged here in Canada by the polling results,” Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association, told a media conference call Tuesday.
“We’re not surprised by them. A FIFA World Cup is always held in high esteem within our country whether it be viewing or even attending. And we continue to view this [as an] opportunity to grow the game in our country and to expand Canada’s positive image around the world.
“We think the FIFA World Cup really hits on both of those targets 100 per cent.”
The two rival bidders have to submit their bid book to FIFA by March 2018.
The winning bid is slated to be announced next June at the FIFA Congress on the eve of the 2018 World Cup. The 2022 tournament is set for Qatar.
The united bid has identified 32 potential bid cities, including Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver in Canada. The host cities are scheduled to attend a workshop next month in Houston.
FIFA will make the ultimate decision on which cities will host games, should the North American bid be successful. Montopoli says the final count could be between 12 and upwards of 16.
The united bid blueprint has Canada down to host 10 matches in all.
The Ipsos survey was conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 1 in the U.S., Sept. 14-19 in Mexico and Sept. 19-21 in Canada.
Ipsos says roughly 1,000 adults were polled in each country. The company says the survey has a “credibility interval” of plus or minus two percentage points for all respondents and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points within each country.