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Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL side, has reportedly won the race to host the final of the 2026 World Cup, which will take place across North America.
It is believed to have had fierce competition for the hosting responsibilities, with the MetLife Stadium, based in New Jersey, also a serious contender. As it stands though, the Texan venue appears to have beaten out its New York competitor.
2026 World Cup final set to be played indoors at AT&T Stadium
Where is the AT&T Stadium located?
The Dallas Cowboys play their NFL home games at the AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It is also believed that FIFA will base its headquarters in Texas for the 2026 tournament, dismissing other potential locations such as New York.
What makes the AT&T Stadium special?
The AT&T stadium it is a huge venue, seating at least 80,000 people but can also be reconfigured to hold up to 100,000 when including room for standing.
The stadium, which was opened in 2009, cost approximately £1 billion to construct and is conveniently located within 25 minutes of the centre of Dallas City.
Itt may not be purpose-built for football, but that does not mean that it is incapable of successfully hosting such an important event in the sport. Although predominantly an NFL arena, the AT&T Stadium has previously welcomed fans of boxing, basketball and even Taylor Swift for a wide variety of events – all of which were a huge success from a hospitality point of view.
The stadium also boasts an impressive retractable roof, meaning that the 2026 World Cup final will also most likely be played indoors.
Concerns surrounding suitability of the AT&T Stadium
There is, however, one major question mark over how well fans of the sport will respond to the news, and that is the fact that, at this moment in time, the AT&T Stadium currently uses an artificial turf surface, rather than the traditional grass associated with European football.
At this point, it is unknown whether that will still be the case by the time the tournament begins, but it will undoubtedly be a topic of conversation until FIFA has confirmed its decision.
A controversial World Cup
Perhaps that potential controversy makes the ground the perfect showpiece for the tournament, given that the new format that will be in place for the competition has been heavily criticised by many fans across the world.
The new format will see the number of participants increase from 32 to 48 countries – meaning that there will now be a total of 72 matches in the group stage alone. In order to complete all 72 games in sufficient time, there will be up to five group stage matches a day, with each nation reportedly guaranteed four days of rest between each fixture.
In total, the tournament, which will be played across the USA, Canada and Mexico, will comprise of an astonishing 104 matches.
FIFA executives have stated that this revised format “mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all the teams play a minimum of three matches, while providing balanced rest time between competing teams.”