(WFI) FIFA wants more answers from both the Morocco and the North American bids before it decides which candidacy ends up hosting the 2026 World Cup.
Football’s governing body intends to gather the information it is still seeking this Wednesday in Zurich when its bid inspectors meet once again with officials from both candidacies.
This special session is an addition to the visits FIFA made last month when it toured parts of the bidders’ projects. While the North American candidacy was inspected once, Morocco was visited a second time to clarify its project.
Presently no date has been established for FIFA to publish its final evaluations on the bids.
According to some reports, FIFA will now have to decide during the first week of June if both candidates meet all the requirements to enter the vote set for on June 13 in Moscow to elect the 2026 World Cup host.
FIFA’s new bidding rules now allow its five-man task force to disqualify a candidate before the vote should it receive a low evaluation score.
In case that both bids do end up in the ballot, 207 FIFA member countries are expected to participate in a open vote for the first time in the history of the World Cup.
FIFA has not only changed its election process but has also established a more rigorous assessment system after the criticism it received in December 2010 when it elected Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. Both of those hosts had evaluation scores lower than their competitors.
Leading up to the next vote, Morocco has been questioned for its readiness to organize the event. While all the North American venues are in place for a 48-team, 80-game tournament, the North African’s bid plan calls for building or renovating much of its infrastructure.
Morocco would use 14 stadiums for the tournament, five of which will be existing structures that will be renovated, with the other nine to be built from scratch. Six of the new stadiums will be “modular”, meaning the capacity can be reduced after the tournament, with removed seats to be “redistributed” to locations around Morocco and Africa.
Aside from that, 100 training fields in Morocco would have to be updated while motorways, new high-speed trains and an increase in airport capacity in that country have to be improved. FIFA has also expressed concern over hotel capacity.
Morocco is making its fifth attempt to host football’s biggest event. Its bid chief executive, Hicham El Amrani, said in a recent interview with the BBC that “a Moroccan World Cup is not just an African World Cup”.
“It would also be almost a European World Cup with the south of Spain just 14km away. We’re just a few hours flying distance from capital cities across Europe, and the European countries will provide a huge number of fans,” added El Amrani.
Meanwhile FIFA President Gianni Infantino is said to prefer the North American candidacy largely due to the amount of money a World Cup in the region could generate.
United 2026 recently claimed a World Cup in the U.S., Canada and Mexico would produce profits of nearly $11 billion for FIFA. Morocco has promised less than $6 billion dollars in revenue.
Homepage photo: FIFA
By INSIDER Javier Monne
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