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Decision on 2026 World Cup host cities delayed

2026 World Cup

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Smoke from fireworks wafts over MetLife Stadium following the halftime show of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. More than 80,000 fans were expected to fill the stadium for the first Super Bowl to be played in an outdoor stadium in a cold weather city. The view is seen from a Customs and Border Protection helicopter operated by the U.S. Office of Air and Marine, which provided air support for law enforcement on the ground around the stadium. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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Potential host cities for the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Mexico and Canada will have to wait a little longer to find out if their bid has been successful.

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Given the current coronavirus pandemic, tours and site visits around the potential host cities across the three North American countries this spring have been delayed and CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani admitted the whole process is likely to be delayed longer.

It was expected that 10 host cities across the USA and three in each of Canada and Mexico would be announced in early 2021 ahead of the 2026 World Cup, the first 48-team World Cup tournament in history

Via Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Enquirer, here is what Montagliani had to say.

“The deadline, I think, will likely be pushed back, because I think the cities are going to probably ask for it,” Montagliani said. “A lot of cities have other things on their hands that they have to deal with right now. So I think for now, until we get out of this, in all likelihood it won’t be towards the end of the year when that file is kind of picked up again.”

By this timeline suggested by Montagliani, it is likely a decision will now come by the summer or fall of 2021, which is five years out from the World Cup.

All things considered, that is plenty of notice for the 17 U.S. cities battling to become hosts for the largest World Cup tournament in history. Per the report, a March meeting between the potential U.S. hosts in Dallas, Texas was scrapped and hasn’t been given a new date, while the next sit visits are scheduled for October and November. Similar meetings in Canada and Mexico did go ahead.

Whether or not this delay allows the cities of Vancouver or Chicago to join the bidding process late on after failing to meet the initial deadline around financial concerns remains to be seen. However, it seems like that ship has already sailed for both cities who have rich soccer heritages and a history of hosting huge soccer events.

A few months back we ranked the 17 U.S. cities in the running for the 10 host city spots and let’s just say it got plenty of people talking.

There’s surely no doubt New York City, LA, Washington D.C., Dallas, Miami, San Francisco and Atlanta will be host cities but the other three spots are wide open. This bidding process will be a hot topic of discussion in the coming months.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports