Cincinnati continues to await FIFA World Cup status. Official information update schedule | Sports and Leisure | Cincinnati

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Photo: Francisco Huerta Jr.

TQL Stadium in Cincinnati

Cincinnati’s efforts to win the 2026 FIFA World Cup continue, albeit at an icy pace.

FIFA, which oversees world football, says it will make an announcement on June 16 for the World Cup. The organization did not provide any details other than that the announcement will be broadcast live from New York City and is a “very important and anticipated announcement related to the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2026™ across Canada, Mexico and the United States,” FIFA says in a press release.

Cincinnati is among a total of 22 North American cities or metro areas vying to host the World Cup matches in 2026, including 16 in the United States. For the first time in history, 48 teams will compete in the World Cup Finals in competitions held across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The quarter-final matches will be held in the United States. Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Borival pushed for the city’s inclusion as a World Cup host.

Queen City launched its bid to host the 2026 World Cup matches in 2017. Officials had expected to see a shortlist of candidate cities earlier this year.

In October, Cincinnati welcomed FIFA and US Soccer as officials toured Paul Brown Stadium, football training facilities, hospitality venues and potential Fan Fest location options. The Cincinnati Local Organizing Committee focused on preparing Paul Brown Stadium in the Cincinnati Bengals for FIFA regulations. According to the FIFA Bidding Guide for the 2026 World Cup, the host stadiums must seat a minimum of 40,000 for the quarter-final matches, 60,000 for the semi-finals and 80,000 for the final matches. Paul Brown Stadium currently has a seating capacity of 65,515. The TQL Stadium in the West End, where FC Cincinnati plays, has a capacity of about 26,000, which makes it too small for a World Cup.

In addition, local officials are looking at the stadium. Paul Brown Stadium is artificial turf, while FIFA regulations require natural turf.

In 2021, Queen City was ranked as one of the best soccer cities in the United States. That year, TQL Stadium hosted the United States national soccer team’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Mexico, as well as the United States women’s national soccer team (which includes Rose Lavelle of Cincinnati) and defeated Paraguay during an international friendly match there.

The USMNT game was the region’s biggest tourism weekend since COVID-19 emerged in early 2020, officials said in November.

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