A FIFA delegation visited potential 2026 FIFA World Cup host venues in the United States ©Getty Images

FIFA has completed a series of visits to potential host venues for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the United States, with a nine-day tour forming part of a selection process which will conclude early in 2022.

The first visits to potential venues saw a FIFA delegation complete a tour of Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington DC, Baltimore, New York-New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami.

The delegation was led by FIFA vice-president and Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football President Victor Montagliani.

FIFA said the remaining US bidding venues, as well as those in Canada and Mexico, will be visited by the end of November.

The delegation spoke with city and stadium authorities, as well as football clubs and other sports organisations.

A focus of the visits was placed on venue management, infrastructure, sustainability and commercial, legal and legacy matters.

Stadiums, training facilities and potential fan festival locations were also assessed during the visits.

The tour began in Boston on September 15 with a visit to Gillette Stadium, which is home to the gridiron National Football League's (NFL) New England Patriots and Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit New England Revolution.

Patriots and Revolution owner Robert Kraft and Boston Soccer 2026 President Brian Bilello met with the FIFA delegation.

Kraft was honorary chairman of the victorious United Bid Committee.

The delegation then travelled to the Nissan Stadium, which is expected to have a capacity of 69,722 if selected for the tournament.

The venue is home to the NFL's Tennessee Titans, as well as MLS side Nashville SC.

Nashville SC joined the MLS in 2019 as an expansion franchise.

Officials then visited Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, with local media reporting that the delegation was greeted by cheering fans outside the 69,796-capacity venue.

The statium houses MLS team Philadelphia Union and the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.

Teams competing at the FIFA World Cup would train at the Union’s Subaru Park in Chester, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Novacare Complex and the University of Pennsylvania’s Rhodes Field under the city's plan.

Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts and Telemundo chairman Beau Ferrari were present during the Philadelphia visit, with the media officials viewed as aiding the city’s case.

Visits followed at Atlanta United’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which could be expanded to 75,000 for the tournament should the bid prove successful.

Atlanta and Dallas were proposed as semi-final venues for the World Cup as part of the United 2026 bid book.

Camping World Stadium in Orlando was the next venue assessed, which could host 65,000 spectators during matches.

Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium was among the final venues visited by the FIFA delegation, as well as prospective fan zones and training camp venues.

The FIFA delegation watched the NFL match between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, which saw the hosts earn a narrow 36-35 victory. 

"I’m so proud of everyone in Baltimore for making such a fantastic impression on the FIFA delegation," President of the Baltimore-Maryland 2026 bid team Terry Hasseltine said.

"Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup would be a landmark moment in our city’s history and the legacy being a host city would leave across the city and a state is one of our bid’s great strengths.

"Baltimore Maryland offers the chance to create a whole new football market in the US, something no other city can offer.

"There is still a long way to go in this race but it has been great to showcase just what an amazing event the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Baltimore, Maryland would be."

The first set of visits concluded with a trip to the FedExField in Washington, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, before finishing at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

MetLife Stadium was proposed as a potential venue for the final in the United 2026 bid book, and is in New Jersey but also represents the New York market.

The bid highlighted the venue having an 84,953 capacity, airports having connections to more than 181 countries, and offering in excess of 100,000 high-quality beds.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino watched the Patriots-New York Jets game at MetLife Stadium with Kraft as par of the trips.

Seattle, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Dallas and Houston are the eight American candidates not being inspected on this trip.

Edmonton and Toronto in Canada and Monterrey, Mexico City and Guadalajara in Mexico are also in the running, and all expected to stage games, with it anticipated there will be three Mexican venues used and two in Canada.

The final list of hosts is expected to be decided in the first half of 2022.