• World Cup 2026: Morocco remain in the frame for 2026 World Cup bid, perhaps jointly with Ivory Coast

    By Andrew Warshaw

    Morocco has not ruled out bidding for the 2026 World Cup with a fellow African nation – or two – now that it has been made clear that Europe will not be allowed to bid.

    For months, speculation was rife that Morocco, which has failed four times to try and host the tournament, could launch a challenge to CONCACAF in partnership with Iberian neighbours Spain and Portugal who themselves failed to land 2018.

    But under FIFA rules, the two previous host confederations – in this case Europe in 2018 and Asia in 2022 – are barred from bidding for 2026.

    That means only countries from Oceania, Africa and South America could challenge North America – and with Oceania and South America having already endorsed the North American bid, that leaves only Africa.

    Morocco’s hopes were given a timely boost by FIFA’s decision earlier this month to turn down a proposal that would have handed the US-led bid exclusivity, with other candidates now given until August to present rival expressions of interest.

    In theory that opens up the possibility of a challenge to the United States, Canada and Mexico coalition that is pushing ahead with a three-nation bid. But to stand even a remote chance, Morocco would have to co-host with at least one other African nation – Ivory Coast has been mooted – in order to accommodate 48 nations under the expanded format which comes into effect in 2026.

    Morocco’s federation president Fouzi Lekjaa has given a somewhat cryptic hint that this could happen.

    “We will make a decision when we have all the elements at our disposal,” said Lekjaa. “We will see. We are from Africa, not Europe. We are a big continent.”

    http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2017/05/22/morocco-remain-frame-2026-world-cup-bid-perhaps-jointly-ivory-coast/

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