Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval Was in Miami Promoting City's Bid to Host World Cup 2026 Games

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval - @AftabPureval
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval
Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval appeared on a press call Tuesday afternoon with other Ohio leaders touting the Unity Agenda that President Joe Biden unveiled at his State of the Union address earlier this month.

Like the other assembled speakers, including Brunswick Vice Mayor and City Council President Nick Hanek, Pureval noted the positive effects of ARPA and infrastructure dollars in Ohio communities. But unlike the others, who appeared virtually from their homes or offices, Pureval appeared from the Miami International Airport. He was on his way back, he said, from a soccer conference, where he'd promoted the city of Cincinnati's bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026.

Cincinnati is one of 17 American cities where World Cup games may be played during the 2026 international soccer tournament and the only Ohio city on the list. Of the host cities selected across the United States, Canada and Mexico, per FIFA, 11 are likely to be in the U.S.

On a rainy week in October, the Cincinnati host committee, including Gov. Mike DeWine, welcomed a delegation from FIFA to show off their town. The FIFA folks toured Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Bengals, and a bunch of training facilities in the region. FIFA officials said they were impressed, but that final decisions on the host cities likely won't arrive until June.

Pureval and other members of the Cincinnati brain trust presented the city's pitch at the Soccerex Conference in Miami.  The Ohio city's qualifications included, according to the event description, "the soccer fanaticism built around [Major League Soccer's] FC Cincinnati, the world-class venues, the future development and growth plans of the city, the hospitality plan and the philosophy of its human rights initiatives."

In response to follow-up questions from Scene, Pureval conveyed, through a spokeswoman, that the Soccerex audience responded "positively and enthusiastically" to the presentation.

"This is not your grandparents’ Cincinnati," Pureval said in a statement. "We’re young, we’re diverse, and we’re energetic. During the historic Bengals Super Bowl run, and during the U.S. vs. Mexico game at our very own TQL Stadium, we showcased for the world that we’re able to bring our swagger and our pride to events on the world stage. Now, we’re ready to do it again."

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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