Morocco Confirms its Bid to Host 2026 FIFA World Cup

Adnane Tighadouini Morocco

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has submitted its bid with world's governing football body FIFA its bid for hosting the 2026 World Cup, the federation announced on its website on Friday.

Morocco's intention to host the competition was announced by King Mohammed VI in July, when he told attendants of the African Football Symposium that Morocco was ready to host major world events, including the World Cup.

The offer to host the expanded 48-team tournament will compete with a joint bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The FRMF said that it had told the sport's world governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association of the country's desire to stage the global showpiece, which in 2026 will feature 48 teams instead of the standard 32.

But FIFA president Gianni Infantino has echoed Ahmad's endorsement, saying that Morocco has the necessary "infrastructure and organisational capacity" to host the World Cup.

However, FIFA previous year accepted that the country had paid bribes to the former head of the North and Central American Confederation in trying to win the right to host the 1998 and 2010 tournaments - something that could prejudice any future bid. It was scheduled to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, but fears over the Ebola virus forced the tournament's move to Equatorial Guinea.

The North American bid was also helped by FIFA's decision to clear the field of some of its biggest potential rivals. In 1994, Morocco was the first African and Arab country to submit its bid to host the World Cup.

That decision put Morocco in conflict with the Confederation of African Football, but the African soccer body is now under new leadership and its new president, Ahmad of Madagascar, has been supportive of the idea of Morocco bidding for the World Cup.

Morocco, a nation whose population of 33 million is a 10th of the size of the United States, previously bid for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, losing out each time in part because its rivals were deemed better equipped to pull off the event.

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