Paul Brown Stadium was the focus of Cincinnati’s bid for high-profile games at the 2026 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday.
The current specifications of the venue in Hamilton County, as well as the specifications required to host World Cup games, were the focus of a virtual call on Tuesday in which FIFA, the governing body of world football, and the local organizing committee of Cincinnati about the location of the 2026 World Cup discussed in Cincinnati. Website bid.
The request was made as part of the ongoing process of selecting the host cities and locations for the FIFA event, which will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Cincinnati FC President Jeff Berding, who attended the call on behalf of the city alongside Mayor John Cranley, Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas, representatives from Paul Brown Stadium and others, said he was satisfied with the tone of the call and the progress made.
“Today’s discussion, our virtual meeting, was really focused on the Paul Brown Stadium specifications to meet FIFA regulations and host the best soccer players in the world here in my hometown, right here in Cincinnati,” said Berding a late morning Zoom call with media members. “The FIFA experts shared their insights and requirements to guide our planning process. We literally covered the grass and the foundation under the grass. We talked about lines of sight. We talked about the entire riverside site and more.
“The county has confirmed, Hamilton County has confirmed that the timing of our World Cup offering is good as they are in a master plan for Paul Brown Stadium while being able to overlay the FIFA specs with the master plan process.”
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The Paul Brown Stadium has hosted football matches in the past but would require changes to meet FIFA World Cup regulations.
The topic of converting the venue from artificial turf to natural turf was a major push during the call, said Berding.
“We talked about grass for maybe half an hour,” said Berding, adding that the hybrid grass playing surface at Cincinnati FC’s West End Stadium was the subject of discussion.
Berding also referred to the locally operated Motz Group, which specializes in play areas with natural grass. He suggested some sort of convenience factor to have the Motz group close by, in addition to working with the organization on the new Cincinnati FC playing field.
The dimensions of the surface at the field level would need to be expanded to meet FIFA regulations for a football pitch, as well as additional space for billboards and other functions.
“We have to provide a larger width in the corners, and the four corners are lifted out,” said Berding. “That will provide the width. These are the two material changes required (grass and corners). Our point was that we believe we have the ability to make this happen.”
In a statement to The Enquirer, Bengali officials said they had been actively involved in Cincinnati’s offer to bring World Cup games to Paul Brown Stadium for more than a year.
“The Bengals and Hamilton Counties have worked with local organizers to bring World Cup games to Cincinnati,” the Bengals officials said in the statement. “This effort has gone on for over a year and the Bengals and Hamilton Counties will continue to work with FIFA.” Seek opportunities to submit a competitive offer that will enable Paul Brown Stadium to host World Cup games in Cincinnati. As part of this effort, the county and the Bengals are evaluating the stadium design work envisaged in the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding, including the Gensler-led design effort, to evaluate a long-term capital master plan to support those efforts. “
The Bengals’ lease with Hamilton County for the Paul Brown Stadium, which has called the NFL franchise home since 2000, runs through 2026. Earlier reports from the Enquirer suggest that district officials will begin negotiations with the Bengals from September 2024 to extend the lease.
The County and Bengals agreed to split the cost of having Gensler Architecture of Los Angeles and Elevar Design of Cincinnati conduct a needs assessment of Paul Brown Stadium.
With the US expected to host most of the tournament’s games in 2026, Cincinnati aims to be one of ten cities to host games.
Other markets included in the American bidding process are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, the metropolitan area of New York-New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area. Seattle and Washington DC
As part of the bidding process, representatives from Cincinnati have participated in the World Cup since at least 2017.
From January, site inspections should be carried out in July until the status of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which is ongoing worldwide, is available.
FIFA also said in a previous press release that it was aiming to “have the host cities nominated by the FIFA Council in the final quarter of 2021”.
The schedule for the selection process is fluid, said Berding on the call.
Berding said: “We have a good start to our offering and will be working with FIFA over the next few months to ensure we all meet their qualifications.”