Sepp Blatter talks up United States' chances of hosting 2026 World Cup
MANCHESTER -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter has suggested the United States could host the 2026 World Cup.
The nation bid unsuccessfully for the 2022 tournament, which will be held in Qatar, but Blatter believes the 2026 edition should go to North America rather than Europe.
The Swiss also feels that the increase in popularity in the sport in the United States, which hosted the 1994 World Cup, counts in the country's favour.
"If you look at the rotation of the World Cup then it should go back to Africa or go to the Americas," Blatter, who also confirmed he will stand for re-election as FIFA president for a potential fifth term, said in a video interview broadcast at the Soccerex Convention in Manchester.
"And as we have been in South America, I think North America has a better chance than South America -- if I'm looking on the, let's say, the logic of the turnaround of the World Cup.
"Perhaps there's a big commercial opportunity arising now in the United States because of the tremendous television audiences that are booming and that the World Cup has also encouraged in its domestic game as well. We did well with football when it first went to the United States but the opportunities are bigger now. Could you just have a look at those possibilities as to where the World Cup might travel from Qatar?"
There has been talk of a joint bid from Uruguay and Argentina to mark the centenary of the first World Cup, which was held in Uruguay in 1930 and won by the host nation.
And Blatter added: "Uruguay [has a] great history in the game but [is] a very small country. It is difficult for them to host a World Cup. Uruguay-Argentina together? Yeah."
Blatter also encouraged England to bid again for the World Cup, despite failing in an attempt to win enough votes for the 2018 tournament, which was awarded to Russia.
The English media has highlighted corruption scandals in FIFA in the past, leading to suggestions that the nation would not be awarded another major tournament.
And Football Association president Greg Dyke said in June that he would rule out another bid for the World Cup while Blatter remains as president, comparing the FIFA Congress to "something out of North Korea."
But Blatter said: "It's not important who is the president of FIFA. If England wants to have again a competition then they bid -- whoever is the president of FIFA. And they should listen a bit about what is called fair play.
"But, at least, don't forget that in football, you learn to win but also to lose. So, therefore, I appeal to all those to go back to the essence of football, and then you learn to lose. I have lost a lot of times but, if you lose, then you stay there and you try to be better. And then, stay fair, that's all.
"Fair play was invented by England, Great Britain -- the beautiful game and fair play. So let's celebrate fair play."