North African nation Morocco on Wednesday in Moscow failed in its bid to host the FIFA World Cup, losing the 2026 edition to the United bid of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
The FIFA Congress voted overwhelmingly, 134-65 and with only one neutral vote, to support the three-nation joint bid which had been in the lead in the run-up to the vote.
Morocco’s loss was its fifth loss and its bid had been looking destined to fail, even before the vote at the Moscow Expocentre, following the pre-vote report by FIFA technical officials.
Even when both bid leaders were given a last chance to make their case with 15-minute presentations in front of congress, the pledge on financial returns widened the gap.
The North Americans had pledged to generate an 11 billion dollars profit, while Morocco could only pledge five billion dollars.
The 2026 tournament is going to be the first to be expanded, featuring 48 teams and not the 32 teams as currently obtained.
The 2018 edition which begins on Thursday, and the 2022 edition which holds in Qatar, will be the last ones in the 32-team tournament format.
While the 2026 edition will be the first tournament to be hosted by three nations, the vast majority of games will however be held in the U.S.
The 80 games to be played, 10 matches will be held in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the U.S.
The final match will be played at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home to National Football League (NFL) teams New York Giants and New York Jets.
While the U.S hosted the World Cup previously in 1994, and Mexico hosted in 1970 and 1986, Canada has never hosted a men’s World Cup.
FIFA’s last vote on World Cup hosting rights was in 2010, where the former Executive Committee chose Russia to host the 2018 tournament and Qatar for 2022.
The event had triggered off the banning of several members of that committee from the sport, after they were caught up in the corruption scandal which engulfed FIFA in 2015.
FIFA’s system of choosing the host has since then changed, with all eligible football federations who attend congress having a vote.(NAN)