City of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms officially entered the fray in conjunction with the Atlanta Sports Council’s bid to land a 2026 World Cup match at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The mayor said in a statement Wednesday:
“Atlanta offers the best that any city can offer—rich culture and diversity, support of human rights issues and a history of successfully hosting national and international events – which makes the city a natural place to host the FIFA World Cup,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “Thank you to the FIFA Organizing Committee for considering Atlanta as a Host City for the 2026 competition.”
Atlanta appears to be in a strong position to not only land a match, but a prominent one — potentially one of the two semi-finals. The city and Mercedes-Benz Stadium held a prominent place in the North American bid campaign, and Darren Eales and others from the city toured FIFA officials around Atlanta and Mercedes Benz Stadium in April 2018. FIFA’s executive committee voted in favor of the North American bid just two months later in June 2018.
Those city leaders campaigning for Atlanta to host a match have continued their work this year. The AJC’s Tim Tucker reported that they met with FIFA officials via video conference in July, with Atlanta Sports Council President Dan Corso stating afterward, “I think we elevated our chances to solidify the spot as a semifinal host city.”
This appears to be more of a formality than anything, but a necessary step that signals that there won’t be significant resistance from municipal leaders as work continues to bring the sport’s biggest stage to the south.