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Morocco set to bid for 2026 World Cup

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The African nation joins the race as the deadline hits

Final Italy v France - World Cup 2006 Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

In May of this year FIFA instituted a deadline of August 11th for member associations to bid to host the 2026 World Cup. This ruling came after the joint CONCACAF bid for the 2026 World Cup between the United States, Mexico, and Canada had been submitted in April. The 2026 World Cup is open to bids only from the Americas, Africa and Oceania. Europe and Asia were ineligible because those continents will host the next two World Cups, 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar.

Argentina and Uruguay are expected to make a joint bid for World Cup 2030 as it marks the 100 year anniversary of the tournament that began in South America. The only other federation with a legitimate chance to make a successful bid had to come from Africa - and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation did just that with Morocco announcing its fourth attempt to host a World Cup.

The United States Soccer Federation was hoping to run unopposed with their joint bid but Morocco launched their own bid on deadline day. However US Soccer president Sunil Gulati was diplomatic in his response to today’s turn of events.

“We’ve always been prepared for the fact that other countries could also decide to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Competition is good, and overall it shows the value and importance of the FIFA World Cup. We’re excited to prepare a bid that will demonstrate to FIFA that the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the CONCACAF region since 1994 should be awarded to Canada, Mexico and the United States... Next week we will provide an update on the number of cities that are interested in being part of the 2026 FIFA World Cup across all three countries, and we’ll continue to put together a bid that will meet and exceed the final regulations and specifications required by FIFA.”

FIFA has confirmed that the only two bids for the 2026 World Cup are the United States, Mexico, and Canada joint bid along with the Moroccan bid.

The next steps in the bidding process are:

  • FIFA to issue the bidding registration documents for the Member Associations to fill in
  • FIFA to issue bidding documents so that the Member Associations may commence their preparations
  • Member Associations to submit their bid book to FIFA by March 2018
  • FIFA to carry out an evaluation process, which will result in a report

Based on this report, the FIFA Council to designate the bids to be submitted to the FIFA Congress for a final decision.

The joint bid headed by the United States is still a heavy favorite to host the 2026 World Cup, but with the Qatar debacle still fresh this is one instance where competition may not be favorable for the red, white, and blue.