For the fifth time, the Kingdom of Morocco has lost in the bid to host the World Cup. At the FIFA Congress in Moscow wednesday, the joint bid of United States, Canada and Mexico prevailed over that of Morocco.
The North American bid received 134 of the 203 votes, while Morocco polled 65 in the ballot held on the eve of the 2018 World Cup.
For the African country, it is a record loss as no other country has had as many failed bid having always placed second to the eventual winners such as US for the 1994 edition, France for 1998, Germany for 2006 edition and South Africa in 2010.
For Mexico, a member of the winning triple bid, it will be a record third time that the World Cup will hold in their territory having hosted in 1970 and 1986.
For the US, it is the second time having hosted in 1994. The united bid received 134 votes to 65 for Morocco, with one of the 203 votes abstaining.
In a post Congress press conference, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino explained that the majority of the matches of the 2026 World Cup will be played in the US while just few matches will be allocated to Mexico and Canada.
Of the projected 80 matches, 60 will be played in the US while Canada and Mexico will each have 10 matches.
Delegates had been faced with a clear choice — the joint North American bid boasts modern, established stadiums and well-developed transport links underpinned by Mexican football fervour.
Morocco, on the other hand, promised a “European” World Cup in Africa, playing on the north African nation’s proximity to Europe.
But compared to North America, Morocco’s bid existed largely on paper — many stadiums and roads would have had to have been built and critics questioned how it would have coped with the 2026 tournament, which will be expanded to 48 teams.
FIFA inspectors classified the north African nation’s stadiums, accommodation and transport as “high risk”, awarding it just 2.7 out of five in an evaluation report, with concerns raised over several critical aspects.
They warned “the amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated”.
The report made the US-Canada-Mexico bid the clear favourite after rating it four out of five, and Morocco was not able to bridge the gap.
“It’s a bit emotional for us today,” US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro told the FIFA Congress.
“Thank you so, so very much for this incredible honour. Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
“The beautiful game transcends borders and cultures. Football today is the only victor.
“And in that spirit we wish all Russian hosts and all the teams competing here the very best of luck.”