Planning and preparations for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico, and Canada have stalled. Despite FIFA’s insistence on keeping the organization in-house, there are no schedules and allotment of games that the 16 host cities know about. Although there is no ill will between FIFA and the host cities, the preparations for the World Cup cannot truly begin at their full capacity until the schedules come out.

Katherine Holland is the chief executive of KC2026, the non-profit organization overseeing the planning for the World Cup in Kansas City. She ensured that FIFA has been a great partner with the host cities and the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Regardless, Holland spoke to World Soccer Talk about how the delays in scheduling are affecting the planning of the tournament.

“All of us [host cities] are ready for the schedule,” Holland said. “It’s a challenge, but it is to be expected. You’re creating a piece of the largest sporting event in the history of the world.”

The costs of the World Cup 2026 preparations

The New York Times reports FIFA has more control over advertising and sponsorships compared to previous World Cups. The lack of a schedule has prevented KC2026 from answering some of its needs for the tournament. The principal of those iis transportation needs for the World Cup in Kansas City. After that, it is a chain of events for other plans.

“We will finally know what we need to budget for with respect to the number of matches. That will inform how we activate fan fest. Then, safety and security. So, it is like a domino effect. Once we know the schedule, the details can be firmed up.”

Crucially, those details that come from the match schedules relate to costs. State governments in Kansas and Missouri and the city government of Kansas City allotted $77 million to help preparations for the World Cup, according to local reports. Yet, there is still no clear direction on where that money is going. That is at least the case without the schedules.

“Frankly, the costs can be firmed up. We are operating in reality as opposed to hypotheticals. Matches are the lynchpin. There will be a lot of activity that happens outside GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. But, the matches are the main event. It’s important to have that as a base around which to build the other activation elements.”

FIFA is feeling challenges of a 48-team World Cup

“[FIFA is] taking on a different challenge,” Holland said. “They’ve never produced an event of this size and scope with this many cities and cross-border challenges. They’re a great partner. We understand that they are working through some things and figuring some things out. We will do the same, pending on their direction with some things.”

With so many teams and locations for the 2026 World Cup, FIFA vowed to handle all the scheduling and planning in-house. The body said this would streamline preparations in, again, the biggest edition of the biggest sporting event in the 2026 World Cup.

Meanwhile, all of the World Cup 2026 host cities are waiting impatiently.