(WFI) FIFA will discuss whether both 2026 World Cup bids meet qualifications to be considered for the final vote in its Council meeting on June 10 in Moscow.
Over the past few weeks, both bidders – the joint North American bid and Morocco- have been waiting to receive a decisive report on the bidders’ suitability to be included in the ballot scheduled for June 13 at FIFA’S next Congress.
Under revised bidding rules, FIFA’s evaluation team has the right to disqualify a candidate before the ballot even takes place.
In April, FIFA sent evaluators to Mexico City, Atlanta, Toronto and New York and also to four of Morocco’s proposed venues. A few weeks later, a second visit was conducted in Morocco. And last Monday both candidacies were summoned to Zurich to answer more questions to the task force in charge of the evaluation.
Throughout the process, the North American bid appears to be the favored within FIFA’s headquarters for its promise to achieve new records for fan attendance and above all, a revenue that would exceed $ 11 billion dollars in profits.
Some analysts predict though that if both candidacies do qualify for the final vote that would include 207 national federations, Morocco could pull an upset victory and host the World Cup given the support it has gathered around the world.
Its African support base, a potential 54 votes, has been a primary focus for the Moroccans despite having a few votes breaking away from a presumed a solid bloc behind its bid.
Liberia has already said it would vote for the “United bid” and South Africa’s government warned its football association not to vote for Morocco, with whom it has strained relations.
Last week Morocco sent its bid chief Hicham El Amrani to Johannesburg last week to meet regional FA presidents, while the North Americans will do so this weekend, attempting to persuade wavering voters to get behind them.
The Morocco is bidding for the World Cup after its first 4 previous failed attempts in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010, however North Afrcan country was close on three occasions. Morocco was second to the U.S. for 1994, behind France for 1998 and just lost out to South Africa for the 2010 finals.
Morocco’s bid plays heavily on the country’s passion for football and its fan culture, relatively compact size, proximity to Europe, climate and the emotional appeal of holding only the second tournament on the continent after 2010 in South Africa.
Mexico has twice previously hosted the World Cup – in 1970 and 1986– and the U.S. in 1994. It would be a first for Canada.
By INSIDER Javier Monne
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