The president of the Football Federation of Chile (FFC) has said the country is weighing up a possible bid to co-host the 2026 Fifa World Cup alongside other South American nations.
The neighbouring countries of Argentina and Uruguay have formally committed to submitting a joint bid for the 2030 edition of the national team tournament, but FFC president Arturo Salah appears keen on a South American World Cup being staged four years earlier.
Salah did not name any countries that Chile would potentially team up with, and did not disclose whether any preliminary discussions have taken place.
“We will consider the possibility of doing it together with other countries, it can be with two countries or three countries,” Salah said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “We’ll have to see. The bidding period is open. We have to see if there is any possibility of partnering with some of our neighbours and see if we can make a bid.”
Fifa president Gianni Infantino in March 2016 gave his tentative backing to a joint bid from Argentina and Uruguay for the 2030 World Cup, stating that he was open to reversing the traditional stance of the body in opposing co-hosting of its showpiece national team event.
Only one World Cup has been hosted by two nations – the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea – and Fifa has since steered clear of joint bids. However, momentum has been building behind a bid from Argentina and Uruguay for what would be the centennial edition of the World Cup.
Following Brazil’s staging of the 2014 World Cup, the tournament is next due to head to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
So far there has only been one confirmed interested party for the 2026 World Cup – a joint proposal from the United States, Mexico and Canada. Concacaf, football’s governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean, in April confirmed that the three countries would be submitting a joint bid to stage the event.
The Fifa Congress last month approved its Council’s decision to allow three more months for bids to be presented to host the 2026 World Cup after rejecting a proposal by the North American bid to fast-track the process.
Member associations from the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Concacaf, South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) have until August 11 to express their interest in hosting the tournament.
The decision on whether to select any of the bidders as the host(s) of the 2026 World Cup will be taken by the 68th Fifa Congress, which will convene in Moscow on June 13 next year, on the eve of the opening match of the 2018 World Cup.
Should the 68th Fifa Congress not select any candidate host associations, further member associations – including those from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and European governing body (Uefa) – will be permitted to submit bids.