(FILE) Illuminated numbers displayed during an event with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York Mayor Eric Adams to promote newly unveiled branding and logo for New York and New Jersey hosting games during the 2026 FIFA World Cup tournament in Times Square in New York, New York, USA, 18 May 2023. (Estados Unidos, Nueva York) EFE/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

FIFA visits to 2026 FIFA World Cup host cities began in Miami

Miami, Sep 20 (EFE) – FIFA and FIFA26 experts in charge of the main operational areas met on Wednesday in Miami for the first of the visits to the 16 host cities of the 2026 World Cup, in Canada, Mexico, and the US.

This is part of the planning and supervision operations in transportation, stadium management, preferential services, and maintenance of the playing fields for the World Cup.

The experts’ tour will be divided into two parts. It will last several weeks until its conclusion in Vancouver, Canada, in early November.

“We are very pleased to open this round of visits today with the organizing committee in Miami, a city that has also been very welcoming to the FIFA26 headquarters in the United States,” said Heimo Schirgi, Director of FIFA World Cup Operations.

Schirgi explained that the team will “jointly assess” the infrastructure for the competition and refine the operational planning of the cities and stadiums.

At the same time, the organization will advance in the necessary preparations to receive “thousands of fans here in Miami and millions of fans in other cities in the US, Canada, and Mexico” for the tournament.

He added that since the host cities were designated in June 2022, FIFA has pooled its expertise with the North Americans’ extensive experience organizing some of the world’s top sporting events.

“We have a common goal for 2026: to deliver a revolutionary experience for those attending the games, and this operational planning tour is another step towards achieving it,” said Schirgi.

Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava was enthusiastic about the arrival of the FIFA officials and said, “The Organizing Committee and our community of soccer fans welcome FIFA as we kick off this essential planning tour.”

“Together, we will deliver a world-class experience for the millions of visitors and local fans who will join us for this event,” said the mayor of Miami Dade, Florida’s most populous county and home of Inter Miami CF, the team where Argentina’s Lionel Messi plays.

The 2026 World Cup will feature 48 teams and 104 matches. It “will attract billions of people worldwide.”

The last time the United States hosted the World Cup was in 1994. Mexico was honored on two previous occasions, in 1970 and 1986. While for Canada it will be its first men’s FIFA World Cup, having hosted the Women’s World Cup in 2015. EFE