The Royal Moroccan Football Federation recently announced its bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. It received the strong backing of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in July.
In an interview, the president of the Nigeria Football Federation expressed confidence in Morocco’s candidacy, noting the country’s developed network of roads and spirit of hospitality. FIFA president Gianni Infantino, also stated last year that Morocco is fully capable, in terms of its infrastructure and organization, of successfully carrying out the competition. This is the 5th time Morocco is bidding for the host position; in the run-up to the 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010 tournaments, FIFA judged other candidate nations to be better equipped to host the major event. Yet in its preparation for previous bids, Morocco has constructed six arenas that can hold at least 45,000 spectators each, fulfilling FIFA World Cup requirements. If Morocco’s bid succeeds, it will be only the second African nation to host the World Cup; South Africa hosted the prestigious tournament in 2010.
The last minute bid poses a potential challenge to the joint bid put forth by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico earlier this year. The North America bid has been viewed favorably by the international community due to the vast number of stadiums, hotels, and training facilities in the U.S. According to FIFA’s rotational hosting policy, only four of six regional confederations were eligible to place a bid for 2026, eliminating strong contenders from Europe and Asia. As the South American confederation decided to focus on its bid for the 2030 tournament and the Oceania confederation announced its support for the North American bid, Morocco is the only other candidate vying to host the games in 2026. Pursuant to a decision by FIFA leadership, this tournament will take place on a much larger scale than in previous years, with 48 team competing. In order to accommodate the expansion in the number of games, Morocco would need to invest billions of dollars into redeveloping its stadiums. The final decision regarding the host nation will be made in 2020.