Virus outbreak prompts FIFA to call off Dallas workshop on 2026 World Cup tour

TORONTO — The coronavirus outbreak has prompted FIFA to postpone a World Cup 2026 workshop for U.S. candidate cities scheduled for Dallas next week.

Workshops in Toronto — on Thursday — and Mexico City are talking place as scheduled.

“As the current situation in relation to COVID-19 has led to travel restrictions in the United States, the candidate host city workshop that was due to take place in Dallas on 16, 17 and 18 March 2020 has been postponed until further notice,” FIFA said in a statement. “This is simply a preventive measure that aims to protect the safety and health of all individuals involved.”

FIFA is meeting with representatives of the host candidate cities to discuss everything related to the competition, from accommodations and training sites to transportation. The three candidate Canadian cities — Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto — will be represented by city, tourism and stadium officials.

Canada Soccer officials will also take part.

FIFA has said it will make the ultimate decision on “up to 16” candidate cities from the list of 23 submitted by the North American joint bid. In addition to the three in Canada, there are three candidate cities in Mexico and 17 in the U.S.

The current bid blueprint calls for Canada and Mexico to host 10 games each with the U.S. hosting 60, including all games from the quarterfinals on. The bid group has been working under the premise of three cities in each of Canada and Mexico and 10 in the U.S.