African Football

Inside Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid: What you need to know

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Morocco on Friday will deliver what it believes will be a winning bid to host the 2026 World Cup in Bogotá, Colombia.

The President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF),Fouzi Lekjaa is expected hand in the detailing Morocco’s compelling case to host the tournament.

It is in Bogota where the procedure for choosing the biggest sporting event  will be decided and thereafter in few months to come soccer’s governing body will hold a vote to determine who will host the tournament  between the North African country and a joint effort between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Months before today’s presentation date the Moroccan committee has already finalized its bid book whose contents were partially revealed on Saturday at a press conference in Casablanca.

It explains the financing sources and the infrastructure projects that will accompany the construction of the new stadiums.

The government of Morocco has already placed a budget of MAD 10 billion just for preparations of the competition which will take place in 12 cities beautiful cities of Morocco if they were to secure the bid.

Casablanca, Rabat, El Jadida, Marrakech, Agadir, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Nador, Fez, Meknes, Tangier, and Tetouan to name the few are some of the cities that the country has placed in the bid to host the expanded 48 team’s tournament

More six 40,000 capacity stadiums are going to be built by the North African country in addition to the seventh 100,000-seat stadium in Casablanca.

The new stadiums would join five stadiums already built in the country. Two others are currently being built in Tetouan and Oujda.

Morocco submitted its candidacy to host the tournament on August 11, 2017. This is the fifth World Cupbid for the country having lost the ones for 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010.

However, it has successfully hosted the 2013 and 2014 versions of the FIFA Club World Cup, and the 2018 African Nations Championship.

FIFA will vote on the bids at a special congressional meeting on June 13, the day before the 2018 World Cup in Russia kicks off.

Previously, only FIFA’s 24-member executive board voted. But the World Cup selection process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments (which went to Russia and Qatar, respectively) was so tarnished with allegations of vote-trading and wrongdoing that FIFA changed the voting procedure.

This time around, FIFA’s entire membership will get to vote on the host for the 2026 World Cup. This “one vote per nation” system makes it much harder for corruption to take place in the voting process.

Africa has only hosted the World Cup one before, in 2010 in South Africa. Despite some concerns, South Africa pulled off a successful tournament, and there is a growing feeling in some quarters that it’s time the World Cup returns to Africa.

You could certainly understand why African nations would be inclined to vote for Morocco. But UEFA countries might also favour Morocco, as match times would be more ideal for TV viewers across Europe. Morocco’s proximity to Europe will also make it much easier for travelling European fans to attend the World Cup.

On Thursday the rival bid, from USA, Canada and Mexico, revealed that there are 23 potential host cities within their bid, including NewYork/New Jersey, Los Angeles, Toronto and Mexico City.

Seventeen of the cities are in the United States and three each are in Canada and Mexico.

But Trump factor is most likely to favor Morocco  though he has lent his support to the joint bid that is analysed to end up being more of a hindrance than a help.

In the past several months, there have been a number of reports – including in the New York Times, Washington Post and L.A. Times – about how Trump’s toxic presidency has led to a general decline in U.S. popularity around the world, thus tainting the joint bid.

For Africa a recent former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s tweet, carries a lot of weight, and his public support of Morocco will not go unnoticed by any of the 211 nations who have a vote.

About Festus Chuma

A lover of African football who boasts experience in journalism, having previously worked at Brand Agenda Publications, East Africa University News and University Post in Uganda before moving to Soka25east.com. On Twitter @fgchuma

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