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Kraft Named Chairman of Committee for Joint 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Robert Kraft

New England Patriots and Revolution owner Robert Kraft will serve as the Honorary Chairman of the Board for the join 2026 World Bid from Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

"Robert Kraft has been one of the most influential figures in modern professional sports in the United States. He is a leader who saw the potential of soccer in America early on and has been heavily invested in the success and growth of the game over the last three decades. Robert will be a great asset to our effort to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ to North America,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati.

Kraft was part of the group that helped bring the 1994 FIFA World Cup to Foxboro Stadium. A year later, he became the founding investor/operator of Major League Soccer’s  New England Revolution.

"My first exposure to world class soccer and the unique power of the FIFA World Cup came in 1994 when we hosted six games at Foxboro Stadium. The intensity of the matches, the truly exceptional athleticism of the competitors, the pageantry and energy of the crowds all created an environment unlike anything else in sport," said Kraft.

1994 was the last time the U.S. hosted the world Cup. That tournament was won by Brazil.

“By 2026, more than 30 years will have passed since we hosted the FIFA World Cup and its return to North America is long overdue. I am honored to be serving in this role and eager to do everything in my power to bring the FIFA World Cup back to North America to share the competition with all the deserving fans in the United States, Canada and Mexico,” Kraft added.

Robert Kraft

Kraft has been a major player in American soccer dating back to the early 1990s when he secured Foxboro Stadium as one of the nine host venues for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

The success of the 1994 FIFA World Cup paved the way for the inception of Major League Soccer and on June 6, 1995, the Kraft family became the founding Investor/Operator of the New England Revolution, one of the league's 10 charter clubs for its inaugural season in 1996.

Since Kraft purchased the New England Patriots in 1994, the club has won more games, playoff games (28), division titles (16), conference titles (8) and Super Bowl championships (5) than any other team in the NFL.

A native of Brookline, Mass., Kraft attended public schools before matriculating to Columbia University on an academic scholarship. Upon graduation, he received a fellowship to Harvard Business School, where he earned a master's degree in business administration.

Members of Committee

In addition to Kraft’s appointment as Honorary Chairman, the other confirmed members of the Board of Directors include Sunil Gulati (Chairman), Steven Reed (Canada), Peter Montopoli (Canada), Decio De Maria (Mexico), Guillermo Cantu (Mexico), Carlos Cordeiro (USA), Donna Shalala (USA), Dan Flynn (USA), Don Garber (USA) and Victor Montagliani (CONCACAF).

2026 FIFA World Cup Bid

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first with the expanded 48-team tournament.

The United Bid Committee began their efforts last week with the launch of the committee and the commencement of an outreach program to more than 40 cities, under an executive leadership team that includes Executive Director John Kristick, Managing Director of Technical Operations Jim Brown, Montopoli, who is the Canada Soccer General Secretary, and Mexico Bid Director Yon De Luisa, who is a Televisa Vice President.

The deadline for the submission of the formal bid to FIFA is March 16, 2018.

The three countries have hosted a combined 13 FIFA World Cups (men's, women and youth), more than any other trio of geographically-connected nations, and set attendance records for five of those events.

FIFA has established a deadline of August 11 for member associations to confirm their intention to compete to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™.

All competitors must then submit a bid proposal for consideration by the FIFA Congress next June.


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