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FIFA executives to visit Nashville, as they choose host cities for the 2026 World Cup

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Posted at 5:45 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 19:51:37-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville could be getting one step closer to hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world -- the FIFA World Cup. A big part of Music City's effort to land a bid took place last Sunday at Nissan Stadium for the World Cup Qualifier between USA and Canada.

"It brings this country together, it brings everyone together around the world," said Cesar Hernandez, a U.S. Soccer fan from New York City.

Cesar and his friends love soccer so much, they wear it on their sleeves. Literally, his friend Andy as a U.S. Soccer tattoo on his shoulder. "You have people from all over the world that come together and understand each other through soccer," said Hernandez.

They were in the sea of more than 40,000 soccer fans that attended Sunday night, with fittingly, served as an audition of sorts since Nashville is in a World Cup Qualifier of its own. "We’re in the home stretch of our bid to be a part of the 2026 World Cup," said Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.

Of the 17 cities still in the running to be one of the ten or eleven hosts, Nashville is officially the smallest. But there's no question, it would be a massive opportunity. "It is arguably the biggest sporting event in the world," said Spyridon.

FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, is sending a few executives to Nashville next Thursday to see all of the venues in person. It could be Nashville's last chance to sell them on Music City. "Obviously they want a detailed tour of Nissan Stadium, they want to know about the pitch, they wanna know about the hospitality, they wanna know about technical requirements," said Spyridon.

In addition to showing off potential practice facilities at nearby universities, Spyridon plans to show off the crown jewel in Nashville's party crown -- Lower Broadway.

"If we don’t do anything well, we can throw a party really well. So we’re going to show them some videos of the Draft, July 4, New Year’s Eve, Preds watch parties. We have the history and the track record to demonstrate that loud and clear," he said.

It's something our boys from NYC picked up on almost instantly. "The atmosphere is great, it’s a heck of a party town, you just can’t beat that," said Lorenzo Roman, Cesar's friend.

And while they're not on the committee that picks the host cities, it sounds like we've earned their support. "I absolutely 110 percent think so -- it should be a host city," said Roman.

Spyridon believes FIFA will make its final decision in the first few months of 2022.