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Miami aims to host World Cup final in 2026

Mayor Suarez says soccer’s biggest match belongs in South Florida

Games could be awarded to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez downplayed concern about it possibly being during hurricane season.

MIAMI – Greater Miami is on a shortlist of cities still in the running to host World Cup matches in 2026 when the quadrennial soccer spectacle comes to the United States, Mexico and Canada.

And Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says the final game of the international championship should be played in South Florida.

“We’re here today for one reason,” Suarez said Wednesday. “Miami is the best city in the country, even in the continent, to host the World Cup, and we want the finals.”

Suarez held a news conference Wednesday afternoon in support of the bid, highlighting the city’s diversity and passion for soccer. He downplayed the potential issue of games being played here during hurricane season.

WATCH A REPLAY OF THE NEWS CONFERENCE:

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and others hold a news conference about greater Miami being among the finalists to host World...

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Wednesday, March 24, 2021

If selected as a host, an undetermined number of games in the tournament would be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

After a virtual meeting was held earlier this month with members of the local bid committee, FIFA’s tournament organizers are expected to visit the site in the third quarter of 2021 and the decision on host cities is expected by year’s end. That timeline could be flexible because of the COVID-19 pandemic, bid officials said.

The World Cup was last held in the United States in 1994. Orlando’s Citrus Bowl was the lone Florida stadium among the nine venues used that year.

For 2026, FIFA is expected to pick 16 venues across the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Miami is among 14 U.S. cities still in the running for 10 spots, bid organizers say. Orlando is also in the mix again.

Local leaders point to greater Miami leading the country in television viewership of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as well as the number of major sporting events that have been hosted at Hard Rock Stadium, including Super Bowl LIV, this year’s college football national championship game and international soccer exhibitions.

“We look forward to welcoming FIFA to Miami later this year so we can show them first-hand the leading-edge technology and first-class amenities we have to offer at Hard Rock Stadium,” Todd Boyan, Hard Rock Stadium’s senior VP of stadium operations, said recently.

Suarez was joined at Wednesday’s news conference at City Hall by Jorge Mas, owner of Inter Miami CF, and Christopher Corey, the City of Miami’s liaison for the World Cup bid, among others.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has also voiced support for the bid.

“Miami is uniquely positioned to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup and I am thrilled we are moving forward in the selection process,” she said in a recent statement. “As a top soccer destination, a world leader in hosting major events, and home to a diverse, international community, Miami is the perfect place to host FIFA’s first World Cup in North America in over 32 years.”

For more information on Miami’s bid, visit miami2026.com.


About the Author:

David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing Local10.com.