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World Cup 2026: The teams will be held in “regional gatherings”

World Cup 2026: The teams will be held in “regional gatherings”

World Cup 2026: The teams will be held in “regional gatherings”

Swiss-Italian FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday that the teams participating in the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be stationed in “regional groupings” during the first rounds to facilitate travel.

Speaking in Los Angeles to reveal the official logo and branding of the tournament, Infantino said that “the challenges will be all the logistics surrounding the global wedding,” which is witnessing the participation of 48 teams for the first time in the history of the tournament and is being held in three countries for the first time as well.

“It’s a continent – three countries, not three small countries – three big countries,” he added.

“Distances, time zones, climatic differences as well – altitude in Mexico, sea level in other parts. That’s why it’s important for us to create the right environment for the teams and the fans to be in the best possible conditions.”

And he added, “In the sense of not having to travel a lot, especially in the beginning. So we will create some groups where the teams will be based on the lottery and then they will play their matches in that specific group.”

Infantino said travel and the move towards creating teams in the regions were discussed at a meeting in Doha last week of the 32 coaches who participated in last year’s World Cup finals.

“This was one of the advantages of the World Cup in Qatar, where the player was in bed one hour after the end of the match,” he said.

“(In 2026) there will be some travel but we will coordinate that and make sure it is the best possible conditions for the teams,” he added.

Infantino said he hoped the tournament would build on the success of the 1994 Finals in the United States, which helped establish the NBA in North America.

Asked what he wants the legacy of 2026 to be, Infantino told AFP: “Football will be the number one sport in North America.”

Infantino’s comments came as FIFA rolled out a “green carpet” for celebrities and former players at the Griffith Observatory overlooking Los Angeles.

The ceremony was held to reveal the official branding of the 2026 tournament. Among the guests was former American international defender Alexei Lalas, one of the stars of the 1994 World Cup.

Lalas supported Infantino’s decision to group the teams in the regions, telling AFP, “It is clear that we are talking about six-hour flights, and changes in timing. For many players around the world, this affects the competition radically, so allocating regional groupings for the teams is a logical matter.” “.

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