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Sepp Blatter hints at rule change that could help USA's 2026 World Cup bid

Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

The United States' potential 2026 World Cup host bid could be given a big boost later this month if Sepp Blatter gets his way. The FIFA president wants to implement a rule that would bar Europe from hosting the tournament, eliminating several competing bids for the U.S.

Currently, FIFA rules bar a confederation from hosting consecutive World Cups. That means that Europe, which is hosting the 2018 World Cup in Russia, cannot bid on the 2022 tournament. But Blatter wants to extend the rule so a confederation cannot host either of the two World Cups after theirs, which would rule Europe out.

"It should be this way," said Blatter.

The FIFA executive committee makes the ruling on who hosts World Cups and the rules regarding the bidding so they will be the ones to decide on Blatter's proposed rule. They meet later this month.

While Europe being eliminated from hosting consideration for 2026 would help the U.S., it's worth noting that the U.S. hasn't committed to bidding on the tournament yet. U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said that the bidding process will have to undergo some changes before the U.S. bids again, having lost out on the 2022 World Cup under reports of corruption.

Even if Europe can bid on the 2026 World Cup, they will not have be favorites because they would have hosted just eight years earlier. The Americans' biggest threats are likely to come from Asia, where Australia could bid again, as could Japan and South Korea. But China looms largest, as they will offer a giant untapped market and almost unlimited government funds to build any infrastructure and stadiums needed. If the Chinese commit to a 2026 bid, something they have not yet done, they would likely be the favorites to win it.