The United Bid Committee announced Wednesday that Baltimore is among the 32 North American cities that could serve as a 2026 FIFA World Cup host.

The list was trimmed from 41 applicants across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Representatives from the 32 remaining cities will meet in Houston next month with the United Bid Committee. The selection process will weigh factors such as city profile, stadium and support facilities and services such as transportation.


The official united bid for the tournament, due to FIFA by March 16, will have 20 to 25 stadiums. At least 12 locations could ultimately host games.

"Today's announcement is great news for Baltimore and Maryland, for M&T Bank Stadium, and for soccer fans across the region, like myself," Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford said in a statement.

The U.S.-led bid, launched Monday, expects 60 games to be played stateside, with 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico.

"We look forward to the next phase of the process and our expanded relationship with the United Bid Committee."

The World Cup last came to North America in 1994, when the United States hosted and set the average attendance record. Morocco also submitted a bid for the 2026 tournament, which will be decided on in June.

Terry Hasseltine, executive director of Maryland Sports, an agency of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said in August that M&T Bank Stadium is "an ideal venue for the World Cup," but Baltimore faces competition from other larger Mid-Atlantic cities, such as Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

"As we move to the next stage of the bid process, we're even more confident we have everything needed to deliver the largest, most compelling FIFA World Cup in history and help accelerate the growth of soccer across North America and around the world," United Bid Committee chairman and United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said in a statement. "We have more than double the number of cities required to stage matches in 2026. We have a vision for growing the game and engaging fans as never before."

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