Why N.Y./N.J. over Dallas? FIFA only discusses decision in broad terms

One of the first questions that came up Sunday after FIFA awarded MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford the final of the 2026 World Cup over AT&T Stadium in Dallas was simply this: Why?

FIFA, which was secretive about the process throughout the more than two years of bidding for what is the biggest event in the world, offered few hints afterward.

“Having thoroughly analyzed various factors, FIFA decided to appoint New York/New Jersey as the FIFA World Cup 26 final venue,” FIFA officials said afterward. “This was not a decision against any other host city, but one in favor of New York New Jersey that was taken in the best interests of football.”

All of the specifics that went into the decision were not announced — but, certainly, the diversity of the region was one of them.

The release by FIFA offered a few others — including an emphasis on sustainability and human rights.

“Sustainability, human rights and environmental protection have been integral elements of the FIFA World Cup 26 since the start of the bidding process, as reflected in the relevant evaluation report published by FIFA,” the organization said. “FIFA’s human rights requirements for its tournaments, which were developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and with the technical support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, were implemented for the first time for a major event during the bidding process for the FIFA World Cup 26.

“As part of the bidding process, host countries and host cities were required to commit, among other things, to fulfilling their obligations under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to developing respective strategies. As it has done for previous instalments of the FIFA World Cup, FIFA is developing a comprehensive sustainability strategy that will cover a number of key areas, including environmental protection.”

FIFA said the schedule — which will be announced after all the teams have qualified — will play a part in the organization’s sustainability goals. FIFA intends to group teams in clusters, thus limiting travel. That is, nations set to play in New Jersey are likely to play in nearby Boston and Philadelphia, too.

It is why the men’s U.S. team will play all three of its group-stage games on the West Coast.

“By minimizing the journeys that players and fans have to make, FIFA will also be contributing to the implementation of a sustainable event,” FIFA said. “FIFA is committed to reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040 as part of a detailed FIFA Climate Strategy that lays out plans to accelerate solutions to protect our planet and our game.”

The organization gave more specifics on why Mexico City was chosen to host the first game of the event, June 11, 2026.

“Estadio Azteca Mexico City is a fitting choice to host the first match of the FIFA World Cup 26, as it is one of the most iconic stadiums in the world and has been the setting of many memorable moments over the last half a century,” it said. “From Pelé in 1970, to Maradona in 1986, the venue has welcomed and witnessed the greats of the game, time and time again. It is apt that the opening match of the record-breaking FIFA World Cup 26 will be staged in a venue that is already steeped in football history.”