North America 2026 World Cup bid wants 2018 vote

Sunil Gulati President of United States Soccer Federation (C) poses for a picture next to Victor Montagliani CONCACAF President (L) and Decio de Maria President of the Mexican Football Federation (R) after announcing the next soccer 2026 World Cup

North American countries bidding for the 2026 World Cup have asked FIFA to choose the hosts for the tournament next year, two years ahead of a scheduled 2020 vote, a source confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

The United States, Canada and Mexico on Monday announced a historic joint bid to host the finals in 2026, which will be expanded to 48 teams.

FIFA is due to vote to award the tournament in 2020. But in a letter to FIFA, the US, Mexican and Canadian bid team has asked for the decision to be brought forward to 2018.

The request was confirmed to AFP by a person with knowledge of the situation.

Confirmation of the request comes after FIFA chiefs released the agenda on Tuesday for the world governing body's Congress in Bahrain next month.

An item included on the agenda is an undisclosed proposal relating to the 2026 World Cup submitted by the Canadian Soccer Association, the Mexican Football Association and the United States Soccer Federation.

The US, Mexico, Canada bid is seen as a heavy favourite in the race for the 2026 tournament.

FIFA has already ruled that Europe and Asia will not be able to bid for the tournament because the two regions are hosting the 2018 and 2022 finals in Russia and Qatar respectively.

That leaves the North American bid facing potential competition from South America, Africa and Oceania among the remaining regions eligible to bid for the tournament.