Morocco and the Americas go head to head for World Cup 2026 bid

Global Business

Excitement is building ahead of the World Cup in Russia, which begins on Thursday. Ahead of that, the focus is on the future, as football officials decide who will host the 2026 World Cup.

The race is between Morocco and a ‘United’ bid of the USA, Mexico and Canada. If Morocco win, it will be somewhat of a surprise. But their bid team head into the vote full of confidence.

CGTN’s Dan Williams with more.

A busy final push for votes. The two sides looking to win the right to host the 2026 World Cup were given the chance to lobby delegates of UEFA, European football’s governing body. Among those in attendance, Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President.

The ‘United’ bid of Mexico, USA and Canada went first. Their major selling point… record profits of eleven billion dollars. Money that can then be shared amongst the various football associations. But Morocco, who began the race as the underdog, head into the vote hopeful of causing a shock.

“We are very confident…We believe that this project can be a great project of development for Morocco and if we don’t win this time, we will carry on and continue for another, another time until we get it to Morocco.” said Morocco 2026 Bid Committee Member Moncef Belkhayat.

The Morocco team wheeled out some heavyweight support. Roberto Carlos, the legendary 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil, is among those to back their bid.

“The moment has arrived to show that Morocco is ready to host a World Cup. There’s always competition with other big countries. But I think Morocco, for the growth of the country, the football, I think Morocco can at last win this contest,” Carlos said.

Morocco is expected to pick up support from across the globe. But it is believed some African countries will shun Morocco and vote for the ‘United’ bid. Those votes could prove to be costly for the north African country.

“We are talking about Africa United. I think it is the time to show that we are united in Africa. We are also to show in Africa that is not only the future. It is right now,” Kalilou Fadiga, Morroco 2026 Bid Ambassador said.

The United bid appears to still be the favorites, but there have been shocks in this bidding process before so a further surprise cannot be ruled out.