North America or Morocco for 2026 World Cup - FIFA votes

MOSCOW: FIFA members will decide on Wednesday whether the 2026 World Cup should be played in North America or in Morocco , taking football's global showpiece to Africa for just the second time.The choice is clear -- between a slick bid based on gleaming stadiums in the United States, Mexico and Canada or an ambitious attempt from Morocco based on as-yet largely unbuilt facilities.On the eve of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, 207 FIFA member nations will cast their vote in a congress of world football's governing body.Morocco's bid for 2026 was only cleared to advance to the runoff vote earlier this month, despite a FIFA evaluation report that classified the north African nation's stadiums, accommodation and transport as "high risk".Morocco received only 2.7 out of five, with red flags raised over several critical components of the bid.A FIFA summary of the bid taskforce's findings warned "the amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated".The report left the US-Canada-Mexico bid as the clear front-runner after giving it a rating of four out of five.But the North American bid has been dogged by concerns that the vote could become a referendum on the popularity of US President Donald Trump.Bid leader Carlos Cordeiro on Monday repeated a message he has hammered out again and again in recent months -- vote on us, not Trump. "We believe strongly that this decision will be made on its merits," Cordeiro said in a conference call with reporters. "This is not geopolitics, we're talking about football and what is fundamentally, at the end of the day, the best interest of football and our footballing community.... We've had no backlash. "The bid to bring the World Cup back to North America for the first time since 1994 has backing from former Manchester United and England midfielder David Beckham , who ended his career at LA Galaxy and is behind a nascent Major League Soccer franchise in Miami. "A football competition as big as the World Cup deserves to be in great places and if the US, Canada and Mexico get that it will be very special," Beckham said.The US lost out to Qatar in 2022 in a vote now tarnished by corruption allegations that spelled the beginning of the end of the once all-powerful FIFA president Sepp Blatter.The corruption-tainted nature of that vote in 2010 vote prompted FIFA to overhaul its bidding process for the World Cup.

June 12, 2018 14:26 UTC


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