World Cup championship could be in NJ in 2026
EAST RUTHERFORD — MetLife Stadium has been recommended to host the World Cup championship game in 2026.
FIFA member federations voted 134-65 in favor of selecting a joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup over Morocco, returning the soccer showpiece to the United States for the first time since 1994.
The New York Times and NJBIZ reported the championship game would be played in the 87,000 seat Meadowlands stadium, which was part of the North American proposal. It's not clear if that is the final plan for the 2026 games.
"I’m thrilled that the United Bid, a joint effort by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, has been selected to host the FIFA 2026 World Cup and look forward to the next step in the process in which specific venues from these countries will be selected to host tournament games," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.
“MetLife Stadium and the Meadowlands region are an ideal site for the World Cup. New Jersey has hosted World Cup matches before and we are more than ready to do so again.
"MetLife Stadium is an internationally renowned facility with first-class amenities. The Meadowlands region includes hundreds of hotels to house fans from all over the world and first-rate entertainment, shopping and dining, all just across the river from New York City."
The stadium, which hosted the Super Bowl in 2013, was lit in red, white and blue on Tuesday night in anticipation of Wednesday's announcement.
Ron VanDeVeen, president and CEO MetLife Stadium, said Wednesday that it's not exactly a done deal yet.
“FIFA will make the final selection of host cities and match locations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup from the 23 candidates proposed in the United Bid," VanDeVeen said. "FIFA will make those decisions in 2020-2021. MetLife Stadium was included in the bid book as a recommended site for the Final and we look forward to working with FIFA to finalize plans in the coming years.”
The old Giants Stadium hosted seven games in 1994 and several games of the 1999 Women's World Cup.
In his acceptance speech, U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro thanked FIFA the "incredible honor" of hosting the tournament.
The 2026 World Cup has 48 teams playing a total of 80 games - 60 planned across 10 U.S. cities, and 10 games in three cities for each of Canada and Mexico.