Morocco Launches Late Bid For '26 World Cup, Giving U.S.-Led Group Competition
Morocco beat Friday's deadline in announcing it will "bid for the 2026 World Cup, providing a challenge to North American hopes of hosting" the tournament, according to Gerald Imray of the AP. A joint U.S.-Canada-Mexico bid launched in April, and the countries "hoped to be awarded the World Cup without facing a challenge." Europe and Asia "can't host the 2026 tournament" because Russia ('18) and Qatar ('22) have the next two World Cups (AP, 8/11). This is Morocco's "fifth bid" to hold the event. South Africa in '10 is the only African nation to host the World Cup (BBC.com, 8/11). In N.Y., Andrew Das notes the U.S.-led bid "remains an overwhelming favorite for the event ... because of North America’s surplus of stadiums, hotels, training facilities and infrastructure." It has the "support of the countries’ regional federation, Concacaf, and the FIFA confederation representing Oceania" (NYTIMES.com, 8/11). In DC, Matt Bonesteel noted Morocco's bid is a "long shot." The country "was scheduled to host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, but fears over the Ebola virus forced the tournament’s move to Equatorial Guinea." However, FIFA President Gianni Infantino earlier this year said that Morocco had the "'infrastructure and organizational capacity' to host the event" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/11).