Argentina football legend Diego Maradona has slammed the choice of USA, Mexico and Canada as hosts for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, decrying the countries’ lack of success and passion for the sport.
FIFA decided on Wednesday that the 2026 event, the first to have 48 teams participating, would be split between the three North American countries, with 60 games in the U.S. and 10 each in Canada and Mexico.
The decision will make Mexico the first country to host three times (hosted in 1970 and 1986) while USA will be hosting for the second time after staging the tournament in 1994.
Maradona suggested Mexico’s record in the World Cup was not good enough as they have been eliminated in the round of 16 in six straight tournaments.
“I don’t like it,” Maradona who led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 told Telesur.
“Mexico doesn’t deserve it. The Mexicans come up against Brazil or Germany… and ‘boom,’ they’re out.”
The 57-year-old also took issue with Canada and the U.S., recalling a proposal ahead of the American-hosted 1994 World Cup from then-FIFA president Joao Havelange that would have split games into quarters to allow for more television commercials.
“There’s no passion,” Maradona said. “The Canadians may be good skiers, and the Americans wanted to have four periods of 25 [minutes] for the advertising.”
The joint-bid defeated Morocco 134 to 65 votes to win the hosting right.