Delegates cast their votes electronically before they were published by FIFA ©Getty Images

A surprise late switch from Russia to support the bid anchored by its main political rival, United States, was among notable late factors affecting the race to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The United North American bid, in which 60 out of 80 games are due take place in the US, with the remainder shared between Canada and Mexico, beat Morocco by 134 votes to 65 today at the FIFA Congress here today.

It marked the first time in any major sporting election that a completely open system had been used, with FIFA publishing the full breakdown afterwards.

It now appears likely that pressure will grow on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other sports bodies to follow suit. 

Russia's change from its previous plan to support Morocco emerged shortly after the country's President Vladimir Putin made a brief visit here to address the Congress.

In another twist, Brazil broke ranks with its colleagues in the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and supported Morocco rather than United 2026.

China and North Korea were among other prominent Morocco supporters.

This was despite the vote being held little more than 24 hours after a historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

An explanation has not yet emerged for the Brazilian decision.

"It was a surprise to us," U.S. Soccer President and United 2026 bid co-chair Carlos Cordeiro said about Brazil.

"But we respect the right for every association to vote for who they want to. 

"We are not focusing on that right now."

A full breakdown on 2026 World Cup votes ©FIFA
A full breakdown on 2026 World Cup votes ©FIFA

He added that it was "not the United Nations" when asked about the Russian support.

Russian allies such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Syria and Tajikistan all favoured Morocco. 

A total of 11 African nations broke ranks and voted for the United 2026 bid.

These were Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Brazil aside, no country in the Americas voted for Morocco. 

The African bid also failed to make the gains in Europe that they were hoping to.

Albania, Belarus, Belgium, Estonia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Serbia, The Netherlands and Turkey were their only supporters there.

Chinese Taipei, Macau, Palestine, Qatar, Yemen, Oman and Brunei Darussalam also supported the North African bid from Asia, with the Middle East split, as expected, on political grounds.

Iran were the one country to opt for "none of the bids" in the computerised system.

Cuba, Slovenia and Spain - maybe distracted by the imminent sacking of manager Julen Lopetegui at exactly the same time - all abstained.

American overseas territories Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands did not vote, although American Samoa did.

There were 203 voters in total, with Ghana also not participating.

Ghana's FA have been embroiled in controversy following the resignation of Kwesi Nyantakyi after corruption allegations which have also forced him to stand down from the FIFA ruling Council.