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U.S., Canada, Mexico trim World Cup bid host cities to 32

41   //    05 Oct 2017, 02:28 IST

(Reuters) - A joint bid for the 2026 World Cup from the United States, Canada and Mexico unveiled a list of 32 potential host cities on Wednesday as the United Bid Committee moved onto the next stage of the process.

The United States has the most potential host venues with 25 followed by Canada with four and Mexico three.

The United Bid Committee said it had received applications from 41 cities and narrowed the list following a comprehensive review of the communities and facilities.

"As we move to the next stage of the bid process, we're even more confident we have everything needed to deliver the largest, most compelling FIFA World Cup in history and help accelerate the growth of soccer across North America and around the world," said United Bid Chairman Sunil Gulati in a statement.

"We have a vision for growing the game and engaging fans as never before.

"Our biggest challenge will be finding ways to honour the enthusiasm of all the people across Canada, Mexico and the United States through the development of our united hosting concept."

The 2026 World Cup will be expanded to a 48-team format requiring an increase in first class venues and training facilities.

If the United Bid is selected by FIFA as the host at least 12 cities will be selected as venues for games.

Morocco is the only bid running against the joint proposal from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

FIFA, world soccer's governing body, is scheduled to vote on the 2026 host at their 2018 Congress in Moscow.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)

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