Fifa is to take ticketing operations in-house from the 2026 World Cup after announcing plans to abolish the local organising committee (LOC) system.
Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura told Russian newspaper Vedomosti that the change will be implemented mid-way between the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, hosting rights to which have already been assigned to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
The announcement comes after Fifa president Gianni Infantino last year said that the World Cup would be organised centrally by football’s global governing body rather than local organising committees.
Infantino’s ‘Fifa 2.0: The Vision for the Future’ document said the Zurich-based governing body would take more direct control of critical business operations, including World Cup ticketing and organising activities.
“We will organise the 2026 World Cup on our own,” Samoura told Vedomosti. “We don’t want to have to create a new structure from scratch (for every World Cup),” adding that this process was “difficult and costly”.
Samoura also said: “We want to have a permanent professional team that will have all competences like organisation and combine this experience with local know-how.”
Fifa earlier this year voted to increase the size of the World Cup from 32 to 48 national teams in 2026, with 80 rather than 64 games to be played. Fifa forecasts that an increase in broadcast and sponsorship rights, plus additional ticket sales, will make the 2026 event worth $1bn (£800m/€935m) more than the 2018 tournament in Russia, which is expected to bring in $5.5bn.
The formal bidding process for the 2026 World Cup has yet to be launched, but the host is to be announced in 2020. The US, Canada and Mexico are said to be mulling a joint bid, while Morocco’s interest has been backed by the Confederation of African Football.