Venues could be decided for the 2026 FIFA World Cup later this year ©Getty Images

FIFA hopes to confirm host cities for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada by the final quarter of this year, should the coronavirus pandemic allow.

The United Bid, a joint bid of the US, Mexico and Canada, listed 24 potential venues in its winning proposal.

Eight venues would be cut, leaving 16 as tournament host cities.

A total of 23 candidates remain in contention.

Montreal, Edmonton and Toronto have been confirmed as the host cities in Canada, while Mexico will stage matches in Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara.

This has left 17 American cities to battle it out for the right to host matches.

The US host city candidates are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington DC.

FIFA hope to begin venue visits in July, should the coronavirus pandemic allow.

This would enable host cities to be selected in the final months of this year.

United States, Canada and Mexico was awarded the 2026 FIFA World Cup in 2018 ©Getty Images
United States, Canada and Mexico was awarded the 2026 FIFA World Cup in 2018 ©Getty Images

"Following on from the information-exchange phase initiated last year, FIFA and the host associations will organise virtual one-on-one meetings with each stadium to discuss infrastructural aspects from the end of February 2021 onwards," USA Soccer said.

"From April 2021, FIFA and the host associations will launch targeted virtual discussions with each candidate host city.

"Bearing in mind the constantly changing circumstances with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIFA and the host associations are aiming to start the venue visits in the candidate host cities at the beginning of July 2021.

"In keeping with FIFA’s policy of following the recommendations of the health authorities in the context of the pandemic, the visits will only take place if the health and safety situation in the host countries allows FIFA to do so.

"Provided the aforementioned venue visits are conducted, FIFA and the host associations aim to have the host cities appointed by the FIFA Council in the last quarter of 2021."

FIFA reportedly considers that providing key infrastructure and services, the commercial potential of each venue are among the most important factors.

Sustainability, human rights and event legacy are also considered of the utmost importance.

The FIFA World Cup 2026, which will be hosted across the three North American countries, will be the first 48-team FIFA World Cup in history.

Canada, Mexico, and the US were chosen to host the FIFA World Cup 2026 on June 13 in 2018 during the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow.

The joint bid beat its only rival Morocco by 134 votes to 65.