Mercedes-Benz Stadium has taken one more step toward possibly serving as an Official Host City for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™.

It was one of 32 cities that made the cut for the United Bid Committee’s list as possible venues if the United States, Mexico and Canada are chosen to host the world’s premier international tournament in 2026. The 32-city list was announced Wednesday. Representatives from each of those cities will now meet and narrow that list down to 20-25 venues in its final bid to FIFA in early 2018.

If selected to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, subject to FIFA’s determination, it is anticipated that at least 12 locations could ultimately serve as Official Host Cities. If a city is not selected to host matches, they could be selected as the location for the International Broadcast Center, host Team Base Camps or host major events such as the Preliminary or Final Draw.

The news comes after Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra was appointed to the United Bid Committee’s Board of Directors earlier this summer. The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first tournament with the expanded 48-team format and will require world-class facilities and infrastructure. The United States, Mexico and Canada are uniquely suited to accommodate FIFA’s high-level standards for hosting the renowned global tournament.

“The Host Cities included in our bid will be critical to its success — not only because of their facilities and ability to stage major events, but because they are committed to further developing the sport of soccer by harnessing the impact of hosting a FIFA World Cup — and looking beyond the game itself to make a positive contribution to our communities and the world,” said United Bid Committee Executive Director John Kristick earlier this year. “We have had a great response so far and we’re looking forward to working closely with each city and determining the best venues for our official bid that we’ll submit next year.”

All venues are required to have at least 40,000 seats for group stage matches, and a capacity of at least 80,000 to be considered for the Opening Match and the Final.

In addition to a stadium capable of hosting international soccer, each city has to propose top international-level training sites and locations for team base camps, and hotels for teams, staff and VIP’s. The Bid Committee will also evaluate cities on their commitment to sustainable event management, aspirations to develop soccer, and the positive social impact they anticipate in the local community and beyond stemming from the event.

The United 2026 bid faces competition from Morocco, which has also declared its intention to bid. Both potential hosts will submit their final proposals for consideration by FIFA, with a decision to be taken at the FIFA Congress next June.