Sepp Blatter is running for another term as president of FIFA, and he’s also imagining a World Cup in the United States in 2026.
Blatter made both comments in an interview from the Soccerex Convention in Manchester, England, over the weekend (video above), offering a possible glimpse into the near future and beyond for the 78-year-old leader of global football.
Blatter is currently serving his fourth term as FIFA president after running unopposed during the most recent election in 2011.
"I will be ready. I will be a candidate to stand for fifth term as president,” Blatter said. “My mission is not finished."
Blatter said he intends to formally declare his intent to FIFA’s Executive Committee during the group’s meetings on Sept. 25-26, and that he received positive support about his leadership during the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
"I got [from] the last congress in Sao Paulo not only the impression but the support of the majority, a huge majority, of national associations asking: 'Please go on, be our president also in future,’” he said.
Although UEFA president Michel Platini has already said he will not challenge Blatter and instead run for re-election in Europe, former FIFA executive Jerome Champagne has indicated that he will contest Blatter for FIFA’s top post when the votes are cast next May.
Blatter, meanwhile, also indicated that the 2026 World Cup will likely be headed back to either North or South America after the next two events are held in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022).
“And as we have been in South America, I think North America has a better chance than South America — if I’m looking on the, let’s say, the logic of the turnaround of the World Cup,” Blatter said.
“Perhaps there’s a big commercial opportunity arising now in the United States because of the tremendous television audiences that are booming and that the World Cup has also encouraged in its domestic game as well. We did well with football when it first went to the United States but the opportunities are bigger now. Could you just have a look at those possibilities as to where the World Cup might travel from Qatar?”
The United States hosted the World Cup in 1994, while Canada has never hosted the World Cup. Mexico hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986.
US Soccer president and FIFA Executive Committee member Sunil Gulati said last week that the federation will not bid for the 2026 World Cup unless FIFA changes the bidding process and provides more transparency in the future, something that has dogged the organization since it selected Qatar over the US as the host nation for the 2022 World Cup.
“We want to host the World Cup at some point in the future," Gulati said. "The 20s sound like a good time, but I've been pretty clear that we want to see some changes made in the process.”
Canadian officials have indicated they are interested in bidding to host the tournament in 2026, their first chance to play host nation for the men’s tournament. The FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place in Canada next year for the first time.