Washington, D.C., officials are looking ahead to a post-COVID-19 world, starting with a pitch to FIFA to host World Cup matches in 2026.
Members of the DC2026 team including Events DC leadership and representatives from the Washington Football Team and FedExField led the discussion on Thursday, April 1, on behalf of the city’s bid.
The conversation centered around infrastructural aspects of FedExField required for hosting matches.
“Washington, D.C. is one of the world’s most recognizable cities and a global hub of culture with world-class infrastructure making it the premier destination for large-scale, international events,” said Max Brown, DC2026 Advisory Board co-chair. “We remain as confident as ever coming out of this meeting, which marks an important milestone with FIFA and U.S. Soccer as we work to secure matches at FedExField. We look forward to this next chapter in our city’s storied soccer legacy of both U.S. and international moments.”
DC2026 says during the one-on-one discussions, FIFA provided information regarding the next stage of the venue selection process for the 17 remaining U.S. candidate cities where only ten will make the final cut.
The World Cup’s governing body also outlined a range of other factors in evaluating each city’s bid.
These elements include the host city’s overall infrastructure and services as well as their commitment to sustainability, human rights and event legacy.
The District and FedExField share a history of hosting global soccer events.
D.C. has hosted more U.S. National Team games than any other city in the world and was home to matches for the 1994 FIFA World Cup and 1996 Olympic Games says the city’s advisory board.
FedExField has also hosted numerous matches in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and premier international teams including F.C. Barcelona, Chelsea F.C., Manchester United and Inter Milan.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first to feature 48 teams, making it the largest in history with 80 total matches. Its economic impact is projected to exceed $5 billion, according to Events DC.
Following the virtual meetings, FIFA and U.S. Soccer aims to begin in-person venue visits this summer. The final U.S. host city list will be announced by the end of this year.
“This important stage in the host city selection process was an excellent opportunity to engage FIFA regarding their vision and requirements,” said Gregory O’Dell, Events DC president and chief executive officer and DC2026 Advisory Board member. “We are confident that FedExField, where the world’s leading soccer stars have played, will exceed FIFA and U.S. Soccer’s expectations in delivering an optimal experience for both spectators and athletes.
“We appreciate the partnership with the Washington Football team and we know D.C. is an iconic city with top notch offerings and facilities needed to successfully host the FIFA World Cup,” O’Dell said. “We look forward to the next steps in this process.”
The 2022 World Cup will take place next fall in the host country Qatar. Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will host the 2026 World Cup.