Morocco challenges North America with 2026 World Cup bid

Russia, Qatar... Morocco? African country submits 2026 World Cup hosting bid

The football federation of Morocco (FRMF) announced on Friday that it will seek to bid for hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Moreover, Morocco's confederation, CAF, last hosted the World Cup in 2010 (South Africa), while CONCACAF, the confederation of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, last hosted in 1994 (USA).

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first with the expanded 48-team format, requiring facilities and infrastructure that these countries are uniquely suited to fulfill.

Africa is one of the federations allowed to host the event based on a rotational policy that rules out former hosts based on continent.

Morocco has hosted two Club World Cup tournaments, in 2013 and 2014, but pins high hopes to organize the world football tournament.

The announcement came in Rabat amid jubilation from football stake holders that it had told the sport's world governing body FIFA it will bid to host the 2026 World Cup. The United Bid Committee has already started that work, and we will now go into full motion with our team in NY, in collaborations with our partners in Canada and Mexico. Morocco was also going to host the 2015 African Cup of Nations but they were banned and stripped of their hosting rights after requesting for the tournament to be postponed because of its fears over the Ebola outbreak.

The decision on who will host event will be made in 2020.

As part of current World Cup rotation rules, UEFA and the Asian Football Confederation are not eligible as Russian Federation and Qatar are hosting the 2018 and 2022 editions respectively.

It was originally expected that only the U.S./Mexico/Canada bid would be in the running for the 2026 World Cup, but now it appears that the U.S. will have a little bit of competition, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Europe has 55 members in the Congress, Africa 54, Asia 46, Concacaf 35, Oceania 11 and South America 10. Canada has not hosted the tournament but was recently the host of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

U.S. Soccer reacted quickly to the news, releasing the following statement from President Sunil Gulati.

This will be Morocco's fifth bid to host the World Cups, after its unsuccessful bids for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions of the tournament. Morocco denied the allegations.

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