John Kristick has been hired as executive director of the United Bid Committee ©LinkedIn

Canada, Mexico and the United States have officially formed a United Bid Committee for the 2026 FIFA World Cup with John Kristick hired as executive director.

The formal bid was announced in April and is to be submitted to FIFA by March 16, 2018. 

The United Bid Committee is set to begin discussions with potential host cities and stakeholders immediately.

Kristick was an executive director at FIFA marketing partner Infront Sports & Media before serving as managing director of bid planning and operations for the US's failed 2022 World Cup Bid Committee from 2009 to 2011.

Joining him on the United Bid Committee is Jim Brown, the managing director of technical operations.

Canada Soccer general secretary Peter Montopoli has been appointed Canada bid director, while Televisa vice-president Yon De Luisa has taken on the role of Mexico bid director.

The United Bid Committee’s 10-member Board includes the President of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Victor Montagliani of Canada.

Other members of the Committee include Americans Sunil Gulati, Don Garber, Dan Flynn, Carlos Cordeiro and Donna Shalala along with Canada’s Montopoli and Steven Reed and Mexico’s Decio De Maria and Guillermo Cantu.

Gulati, the United States Soccer Federation President and a FIFA Council member, is the chairman.

"It’s everybody working together, all hands on deck, to make this happen for the united bid by March 16, there’s no doubt about it," Montopoli was reported as saying by Inside World Football.

"Certainly there’s not the luxury of time.

"But in viewing these things, it’s not necessarily a bad thing as well because it gives everybody who wishes to be engaged the necessary momentum to get things done in an accelerated time frame.

"If the will is there, we believe it can get done."

Sunil Gulati during the announcement of the Canada, Mexico and the United States joint 2026 FIFA World Cup bid in April ©Getty Images
Sunil Gulati during the announcement of the Canada, Mexico and the United States joint 2026 FIFA World Cup bid in April ©Getty Images

The US hosted the 1994 World Cup, which had the highest average attendance in the tournament's history. 

Mexico became the first nation to host the FIFA World Cup twice in 1986, having also done so in 1970.

Canada are yet to stage the World Cup and have only made one appearance to date, making a group exit after three straight defeats at Mexico 1986.

However, the country did host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which featured an expanded 24-nation field with matches played in six cities across five time zones. 

"These three countries will be very happy to receive the rest of the world and to validate that football allows us to unite countries, that it is a celebration, and that we will receive all those who want to come to enjoy this great party," De Maria told Inside World Football.

"Offering the possibility for Mexico to organise a third World Cup is very special."

In May, FIFA's membership voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Council's proposals to keep the bidding window for the 2026 World Cup open for a further three months at the governing body's Congress in Bahrain. 

The motion, which gave eligible nations until August 11 to enter the race for the tournament, passed with a 93 per cent majority.

It came after the Council rejected a proposal from the Canada, Mexico and the US to fast-track their bid.

They instead opted to allow other nations to submit an expression of interest in hosting the competition before the deadline.

The expedited process for the 2026 event will see the host nation decided at next year's FIFA Congress on June 13 in Moscow, held prior to the opening match of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Countries from the member associations of the Confederation of African Football, the South American Football Confederation, the Oceania Football Confederation and the CONCACAF have been invited to bid.

As part of current World Cup rotation rules, UEFA and the Asian Football Confederation are not eligible as Russia and Qatar are hosting the 2018 and 2022 editions respectively.

However, they will be granted the opportunity to launch an attempt to stage the competition if any of the candidates for 2026 fail to meet FIFA's requirements.

Morocco are the only other mooted potential bidder for 2026, but may reconsider in the face of competition from North America.