Baltimore was short.
FIFA, the leading body of football, selected 16 host cities for the 2026 World Cup on Thursday, and Baltimore was not among them.
In April, Baltimore and Washington combined offers that each city felt could increase its chances of being elected. Washington originally offered to host its own matches, but worked together to unite Washington’s status as the capital with the more attractive M&T Bank Stadium, instead of FedEx Field in Landover, home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
FedEx Field recently had problems – including bursting pipes and a broken fence during last season’s NFL games – while the M&T Bank Stadium will receive the Object of Merit award from the National Center for Spectator Safety and Security this year.
According to the combined offer, the matches would be held in Baltimore, while Washington would host a fan festival at the National Mall, which would coincide with the country’s 250th birthday.
The 2026 World Cup will be unique in two ways: for the first time, 48 teams will participate in the tournament (instead of 32), and the hosts will be three countries. Between the United States, Canada and Mexico, 16 cities were chosen to host the games, and the United States received the most sites.
FIFA officials visited Baltimore in September and attended the Ravens game against the Kansas City Chiefs, along with 70,000 fans. Terry Hasseltine, executive director of the Maryland Sports Commission, which oversaw the Baltimore campaign, said that FIFA assessed Baltimore’s offer as “authentic”.
“In essence, they said, ‘Well done, Baltimore. “You gave us a lot to think about,” Hasseltein said last week about FIFA’s reaction.
However, FIFA eventually chose other locations instead of Sharm City. The United States has once hosted the Men’s World Cup (1994) and the Women’s World Cup twice (1999, 2003); 2026 will be the first time that matches are not played in Washington.
However, international football will come to Baltimore this summer. English Premier League teams Arsenal and Everton will play at the M&T Bank Stadium on July 16.
This story will be updated.
Cities hosting the 2026 World Cup
New York / New Jersey