New England Soccer Today

Kraft Named Honorary Chair of 2026 WC Bid Group

Photo credit: Jeff Bernstein

Revolution owner/investor Robert Kraft was named the Honorary Chairman of the Board for the United Bid Committee of Canada, Mexico and the United States that will oversee the bidding process to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to North America on Tuesday.

Kraft, who secured Foxboro Stadium as one of the nine host venues for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, was one of the first investors in MLS with the Revolution’s inception in 1995.

“Robert Kraft has been one of the most influential figures in modern professional sports in the United States,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati in a U.S. Soccer release. “He is a leader who saw the potential of soccer in America early on and has been heavily invested in the success and growth of the game over the last three decades. Robert will be a great asset to our effort to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ to North America.”

Kraft, who also owns the NFL’s New England Patriots and recently purchased a stake in esports brand Activision Blizzard in its startup Overwatch League, commented on what it meant it be involved in the 2026 bid, which is attempting to bring back the World Cup to the U.S. for the first time since 1994.

“My first exposure to world class soccer and the unique power of the FIFA World Cup came in 1994 when we hosted six games at Foxboro Stadium,” Kraft said in a release. “The intensity of the matches, the truly exceptional athleticism of the competitors, the pageantry and energy of the crowds all created an environment unlike anything else in sport.

“Most importantly, the month-long event epitomized all that is great about athletic competition. People from all nationalities and backgrounds gathered together in communal celebrations of the international competition. The FIFA World Cup’s ability to build bridges and bring people together is unlike any other medium.”

Kraft also hopes to wield the same influence that first brought the World Cup to the U.S. 23 years ago.

“I am honored to be serving in this role,” Kraft said, “and eager to do everything in my power to bring the FIFA World Cup back to North America to share the competition with all the deserving fans in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”

In addition to Kraft’s appointment as Honorary Chairman, the other confirmed members of the Board of Directors include Gulati (Chairman), Steven Reed (Canada), Peter Montopoli (Canada), Decio De Maria (Mexico), Guillermo Cantu (Mexico), Carlos Cordeiro (USA), Donna Shalala (USA), Dan Flynn (USA), Don Garber (USA) and Victor Montagliani (CONCACAF).

The deadline for the submission of the formal bid to FIFA is March 16, 2018. Additionally, the 2026 tournament will be the first with the expanded 48-team format.

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