(ATR) Together… but separate.
The competing Morocco and North American bid teams for the 2026 FIFA World Cup are both in Brussels to present their cases at the 81st AIPS Congress.
Both candidacies will offer this Tuesday more details about their plans and answer questions from more than 200 journalists from 100 countries gathered at the Hotel Le Plaza, site of the Congress.
Morocco 2026 will be represented by its CEO, Hicham El Amrani, while the United bid will include a representative from each of the three countries that belong to it: Co-chair and US Soccer President, Carlos Cordeiro, Mexican Football President Decio de Maria and Peter Montopoli, Canada’s Soccer Association General Secretary.
Both bids were already subject last month to inspections by a FIFA five-man task force. The team from world football’s governing body spent five days assessing the strengths and weaknesses of both candidacies in order to present their conclusions before the vote to select the 2026 World Cup host during FIFA’s congress in Moscow on June 13.
Morocco is bidding for a fifth time. Its plans include building stadiums in 12 host cities with a comprehensive budget above $15 billion dollars. The North African country may be considered as an outsider in terms of infrastructure, venues and financial potential, but have a strong support from most African countries (Gambia the latest to confirm) while enjoying great backing in Asia (most recently Myanmar), eastern Europe and even in the Caribbean.
Morocco however cannot yet count on South Africa’s vote as the the host the 2010 World Cup has denied supporting Morocco.
“SAFA wants to reiterate that no decision has been taken at this stage on the matter on who to support,” said the South African Football Association statement, emphasizing that none of its officials announced the federation’s position on any bid.
The statement contradicts an April post on the official federation page, which has since been deleted from the website. However, a tweet posted by the federation confirms that SAFA’s original support for the Moroccan bid.
The United States, Mexico and Canada bid estimates that their ticketing revenue alone might reach $2.1 billion, almost three times that of Morocco’s forecasts of $785 million. Thus far the North American have the support of the 10 countries of CONMEBOL, South America’s Confederation.
In Brussels, Cordeiro will probably will have to explain U.S president Donald Trump’s words of support to the United bid in a tweet that also warned of possible repercussions to those countries that do not vote for the North American candidacy .
“I don’t see it as threatening,” said the US Soccer President recently. “I think you have got to appreciate how he says things. I think what was implicit in what he said was that he would like to see people support our bid and that is what I like my head of state to say,” Cordeiro added.
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have also both tweeted their own backing for the 2026 bid.
“Mexico and Canada tweeted on the same day and no one talks about their tweets, “ said Cordeiro “But the reality is that all three heads of state have been very vocal in support of our United bid. I think that is fantastic,” he concluded.
By INSIDER Javier Monne
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