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FIFA announced a new four-phase bidding process for the 2026 World Cup on Tuesday, unveiling a system that will begin this month and culminate with a decision on who will host the 2026 tournament in May 2020.

The new bidding process will begin this month with a strategy and consultation phase that will run until May 2017, then continue with enhanced phases for bid preparation (June 2017-December 2018), bid evaluation (January 2019-February 2020) and the final decision in May 2020.

The four-phase process was revealed by the FIFA Council, a supervisory and strategic body. The council met for two days in Mexico City ahead of the FIFA Congress, which will begin on Wednesday.

The US is widely expected to submit a bid for the 2026 World Cup, while Canada and Mexico have also indicated their interest in holding the tournament.

The first strategy and consultation phase, which begins this month, will review four areas in particular:  

  1. The inclusion of human rights requirements, sustainable event management and environmental protection in the bidding
  2. The exclusion of bidders that do not meet technical requirements
  3. A review of the current stance on joint bids
  4. A review on the number of teams

While FIFA announced that the consultation process should finish by May 2017, the decisions on the number of teams, format of the tournament and eligibility of confederations to bid is expected this October.