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United States, Mexico in talks for joint 2026 World Cup bid, supported by FIFA

The United States and Mexico are considering a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup and have already won early support from FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Football officials from both countries told ESPN FC that initial discussions were held on the sidelines of the FIFA Congress taking place in Mexico City this week, with further meetings expected to take place over the coming months.

John Motta, a board member of the United States Soccer Federation, said: "We have spoken to our Mexican counterparts and are very open to the idea of a joint bid.

"It could be a positive move for the game in both countries, and it's also a very exciting proposition for FIFA. We will now go away and formulate a timetable for further discussions.

"But whatever happens, we will bid for the 2026 World Cup -- either jointly or we will go it alone."

Mexican Football Federation president Decio de Maria told ESPN FC that he had a private meeting with Infantino on Sunday in which he raised the possibility of a joint bid with the United States.

Two days later, the FIFA Council said in announcing a new process on how the 2026 World Cup will be awarded that it was once again open to the idea of joint bids. A final decision on who stages the tournament will be made in May 2020.

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati helped Gianni Infantino, elected to the top FIFA post earlier this year.

Since the 2002 World Cup, hosted by Japan and South Korea, world football's governing body has not entertained joint bids.

"Mr Infantino was very enthusiastic about my idea for a joint bid and wants me to pursue this further," De Maria said.

"We are committed to becoming the first country to have staged a World Cup three times, and we will do all we can to make this happen, either with the United States or independently."

Part of Infantino's enthusiasm may stem from the financial potential of a jointed United States-Mexico World Cup, given the lucrative television and commercial deals that could be on offer.

FIFA's finances have been dented by the corruption scandal with its congress told that the organisation made a loss of $122 million last year. A number of high-profile sponsors have also ended their association with the body.

"Given the size of the domestic television audience in both countries and the commercial deals this could generate, FIFA probably sees a United States-Mexico World Cup as an ideal way to improve its financial situation," Motta said.

Also at the Congress on Friday, FIFA  broke new ground by appointing Senegalese United Nations official Fatma Samoura as its first female and first non-European secretary general.

Gibraltar and Kosovo were also admitted, increasing FIFA's membership to 211.

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