June 17, 2022 – Athlete Ally responded today to news that the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) has announced the North American host cities for the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup.
These cities were selected following a historic bidding process wherein – for the first time ever – countries vying for the bid were required to disclose human rights risks associated with the host country and what they would do to mitigate those risks if awarded the bid. The United Bid – a joint effort between Canada, the United States, and Mexico – won in June of 2018. As the next step in the process, cities in North America vying to host matches outlined their human rights plans to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for all.
Ahead of city selection, Clifford Chance and the Centre for Sport and Human Rights released a comprehensive report comparing each city’s plans to mitigate human rights risks and create inclusive environments for all participating in the Men’s World Cup. The report made visible and transparent which cities would be the most welcoming to a diverse range of people, and would be best-placed create a lasting legacy for soccer in North America.
While we are glad to see some cities on this list that protect and uphold the rights of LGBTQI+ people, it is extremely disheartening and alarming to see cities selected in U.S. states that have recently passed laws that openly discriminate against the LGBTQI+ community, especially transgender and nonbinary people.
“Under official bidding process guidelines, FIFA has committed to ensuring athletic environments free from discrimination, but cannot follow through on this promise when mega sporting events are held in places where LGBTQI+ rights are under attack,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “As the Men’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar looms with no real or lasting efforts in place to protect LGBTQI+ people, it is even more important that between now and 2026, we see clear mechanisms in place to ensure all athletes, coaches, fans and staff at the World Cup, including the LGBTQI+ people living in these states, are protected from discrimination. Without a plan to address this discrimination, the legacy of the 2026 Men’s World Cup and the human rights bidding framework used cannot be seen as comprehensive or successful.”
The full list of host cities and venues are as follows:
Atlanta, GA (Mercedes Benz Stadium)
Boston, MA (Gillette Stadium in Foxborough)
Dallas, TX (AT&T)
Houston, TX (NRG Stadium)
Kansas City, MO (Arrowhead Stadium)
Los Angeles, CA (SoFi Stadium, Inglewood)
Miami, FL (Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens)
New York, NY / Rutherford, NJ (MetLife Stadium)
Philadelphia, PA (Lincoln Financial Field)
San Francisco, CA (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara)
Seattle, WA (Lumen Field)
Toronto, Ontario (BMO Field)
Vancouver, B.C. (BC Place)
Guadalajara, Jalisco (Akron Stadium)
Mexico City (Estadio Azteca)
Monterrey, Nuevo León (Estadio BBVA)
For more information on state-based LGBTQI+ nondiscrimination laws and policies, please see the Movement Advancement Project and the Equality Federation websites. For information on international LGBTQI+ nondiscrimination laws and policies, please see OutRight Action International and Human Rights Watch websites.