49ers Trying to Lure 2026 World Cup to Levi’s Stadium by Courting FIFA, a Scandal-Plagued Organization

By Robert Haugh

This weekend, the 49ers announced that they’ll be hosting a visit from officials from Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of international soccer.

The “goal” is for San Francisco to be the host city for the 2026 World Cup, according to our sources in San Francisco.

Some games will be played at Levi’s Stadium. But games will also be played in other US cities.

FIFA officials will tour Levi’s Stadium. Then they’ll be wined and dined by a committee led by 49ers executive Al Guido.

That’s interesting because FIFA has been rocked by scandals involving the selection of World Cup host countries and cities.

A total of 18 people, including nine FIFA officials, were indicted in the last six years for bribery, money laundering, and fraud involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

But the 49ers executives like Guido and Jim Mercurio have also been involved in some scandals but not on the same scale.

San Francisco Will be the Host City

Our sources say the major FIFA events will be held in San Francisco. San Jose may host the press conferences. That was the arrangement for Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

If the arrangements are like Super Bowl 50, we shouldn’t expect any official FIFA parties in Santa Clara. But here’s the good news: the Mission City shouldn’t have to pick any of the costs either.

During Super Bowl 50, San Francisco and San Jose ended up spending millions of dollars for public safety costs. Santa Clara actually got paid millions of dollars.

Here’s what the San Francisco Examiner reported about San Francisco’s expenses:

“A new report released by Budget Analyst Harvey Rose, at the request of Supervisor John Avalos, estimates the total cost at $4.8 million.

Here’s what the paper wrote about Santa Clara:

“According to the assistant city manager, the city of Santa Clara has reached an agreement with the Host Committee to reimburse all city expenses associated with hosting Super Bowl 50, including public safety services, fire, and emergency medical services,” the report stated. “The reimbursement from the Host Committee to Santa Clara is expected to be $3,597,300 to cover all additional public safety and other government services.”

There was no official report on San Jose’s expenses but the public safety expenses were likely in the $4 million range.

The Carolina Panthers stayed at the San Jose Marriott. The Denver Broncos stayed at the Santa Clara Marriott.

Here’s what San Francisco Supervisor Avalos told the Examiner after the 2016 official report on spending came out:

“The City (SF) got a real bad deal. It is a huge subsidy for the NFL. Santa Clara got a good deal. They were smart. They called for economic impact before going into agreement with the NFL. We should get reimbursed by the NFL. It looks like the NFL was given a pass or the Mayor’s Office failed miserably in negotiating a good deal.”

The San Francisco Mayor at the time was Ed Lee. Now it’s Mayor London Breed. She was on the Board of Supervisors during Super Bowl 50. Sources in San Francisco politics are speculating if she will learn from Lee’s mistake.

We’ll be following this story as it develops.

Al Guido


  1. It is important for the public to understand that there are serious legal issues that are implicated by Al Guido’s actions. I have made the following request to the City Council:

    Pursuant to Council Policy 030, I hereby request that the following written petition be placed on the next City Council agenda:

    On September 17, 2019, the Stadium Authority Board terminated the Stadium Management Agreement with the San Francisco 49ers. Although the 49ers sued the Stadium Authority in an attempt to prevent the termination, the litigation has still not been resolved. The 49ers’ breaches which gave grounds for the termination are serious and remain without remedy. They involve self dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of conflict of interest laws. Without the Management Agreement, the 49ers have absolutely no right to book non-NFL events.
    Despite the fact that he has no right to obligate the Stadium Authority, Al Guido has been representing to FIFA that they will be able to use Levi’s Stadium as a venue for the 2026 World Cup matches. Despite the fact that the Management Agreement has been terminated, Mr. Guido has never consulted the Stadium Authority Board about whether he is authorized to grant a license to use the publicly-owned Levi’s Stadium.
    I hereby request that the City Council and Stadium Authority Board place an item on a future agenda to explain to the public how Mr. Guido can proceed with misrepresenting his authority to FIFA officials. The report to the Board should include answers to the following questions:

    1. Has Mr. Guido informed the FIFA officials that the Stadium Authority Board has terminated the Management Agreement, and that therefore he may not be legally authorized to book World Cup matches at Levi’s Stadium?
    2. Have Mr. Guido’s negotiations included potential deals that would benefit entities in which Mr. Guido has an interest?
    3. What conversations have any Board Members engaged in about use of Levi’s Stadium for the 2026 World Cup, and under what authority have these conversations occurred?

    The public deserves to have public discussion of whether a major world sporting event ought to be held at its publicly-owned stadium in Santa Clara under these extremely disturbing circumstances.

    Brian Doyle
    District 5 Resident

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