First Published: 2017-08-11

Morocco to bid for 2026 FIFA World Cup
If successful, Morocco would become only second African country to host football's flagship event following South Africa in 2010.
Middle East Online

Men play football near the beach in Rabat, Morocco

RABAT - Morocco's football federation (FRMF) announced on Friday it had told the sport's world governing body FIFA it will bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

It would be Morocco's fifth candidacy having come up short already in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010.

"Morocco considers itself capable of organsining a World Cup," youth and sports minister Rachid Talbi Alami said.

"We have the necessary infrastructure in terms of stadiums, transport, hotel capacity and sanitation."

In April, the United States, Canada and Mexico had already announced a joint North American bid to host the tournament.

If successful, Morocco would become only the second African country to host football's flagship event following South Africa in 2010.

The north Africans have received backing from African confederation (CAF) president Ahmad Ahmad.

"We are convinced that Morocco could organise this competition just as was done by South Africa in 2010," said Malagasy Ahmad after he was elected to succeed Cameroon's Issa Hayatou as head of the African body.

However, FIFA last year accepted that the country had paid bribes to the former head of the North and Central American Confederation in trying to win the right to host the 1998 and 2010 tournaments -- something that could prejudice any future bid.

But FIFA president Gianni Infantino has echoed Ahmad's endorsement, saying that Morocco has the necessary "infrastructure and organisational capacity" to host the World Cup.

The 2026 tournament will be the first with an expanded 48-team tournament, up from the current 32 qualifiers.

Morocco had won the right to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations but pulled out at the 11th hour over concerns related to the Ebola outbreak in western Africa at the time.

But the country has embarked on a professionalisation drive to improve its football infrastructure while increasing it's candidacies for various tournaments in order to improve its chances of landing a much coveted World Cup.

Morocco has hosted two Club World Cup tournaments, in 2013 and 2014, although that is a vastly smaller and shorter tournament.

 

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Saudi Arabia to host first Arab Fashion Week

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea

African migrants start hunger strike over Israel expulsion

UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

Three militiamen killed in Libya car bomb attack

Russia denies ‘groundless’ accusations of role in Ghouta killings

Turkey says whoever helps YPG is 'legitimate target'

Morocco dismantles IS-linked terrorist cell

Turkey urged to end gas standoff with Cyprus

PKK attack near Iraq kills 2 Turkish soldiers

Netanyahu confidant to testify against him

Iran emergency teams recover bodies from plane crash site

Ten dead in more Syrian regime strikes on East Ghouta

Bahrain activist sentenced to 5 years for Yemen tweets

Lebanese president makes landmark visit to Iraq

US declares readiness to talk Mideast peace

Bloodbath in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Abbas calls for peace conference in rare UN speech

Egyptian court adds leading government critic on terror list

Yemen government offensive threatens heritage site

Turkey considering chemical castration for child abusers

45 civilians killed in air strikes on rebel enclave

Cairo sheds Ottoman-era street names amid Egypt-Turkey crisis

New woes for Israeli PM in fresh graft cases

Maghreb countries wary about jihadists relocating from Iraq, Syria

Erdogan says Turkey will besiege Afrin "swiftly"