BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Representatives from FIFA and U.S. Soccer will be in town Sept. 19-20 to tour M&T Bank Stadium and observe the Baltimore’s other sports amenities and infrastructure as a local group pushes for the city to host matches during the 2026 World Cup.

According to the Maryland Sports Commission, the lead organization behind the bid, members of soccer’s international governing body and U.S. Soccer’s 2026 FIFA World Cup Host City selection delegation will also learn about the group’s “super-compact hosting concept” and the experience the city could provide for fans and teams.

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“With an ideal downtown location and excellent domestic and international travel connectivity, M&T Bank Stadium will allow fans to travel to the heart of the football festival quickly and conveniently,” bid organizers noted in a press release. “Situated just 10 miles from the BWI Marshall International Airport and with more than 10,000 hotel rooms within walking distance, the stadium and city plans are also consistently praised for offering a great fan experience and generating a real sports-mad city buzz.”

Terrance Hasseltine, president of Baltimore-Maryland 2026 and executive director of Maryland Sports Commission, added the region has the “best high-performance stadia and training facilities in the world” and that fan experiences such as Ravens Walk “will leave FIFA World Cup fans with memories that last a lifetime.”

FIFA is considering 17 cities in the U.S. to host the matches in 2026. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and local sports apparel company Under Armour have all thrown support behind the bid to bring World Cup games to Baltimore.

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“We are thrilled to welcome the FIFA delegation to Baltimore,” Scott said in a statement. “Charm City has a rich and diverse soccer culture, with fans and athletes from across the globe eager to cheer their teams on, I look forward to showcasing what Baltimore and the state of Maryland have to offer — from M&T Bank Stadium to our world-class hotels and restaurants.”

All 2026 World Cup matches will be played in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

During an initial nine-day tour, representatives from FIFA will also visit Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia and Miami, the governing body announced.

All other bidding venues in the U.S. and those in Mexico and Canada will be visited by the end of November.

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FIFA said it expects to finalize the selection process by the first or second quarter of 2022.

CBS Baltimore Staff