Morocco officially launch bid for 2026 World Cup

Morocco

Morocco has lodged its bid to host the 2026 soccer World Cup, the country's football federation said in a statement on Friday. If successful, the North African state will follow Russian Federation and Qatar in hosting the blue-riband soccer event.

If successful, Morocco would become only the second African country to host football's flagship event following South Africa in 2010.

North America has a late challenge from North Africa in the contest to host the 2026 World Cup.

Morocco's chances of winning the 2026 hosting rights may be boosted by its huge tourism industry and its reputation as a relatively liberal Islamic country.

The bid to host the football championship in 2026 was also submitted earlier jointly by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Federation Internationale de Football Association instead opted to keep the bidding window open for a further three months and gave other interested countries until today to confirm their intention to bid.

The announcement of the host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be announced in 2020.

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The North African nation narrowly lost out to South Africa in its offer to stage the 2010 finals.

A decision to increase the number of national teams participating in the World Cup from the current number of 32 up to a total of 48 was unanimously approved by the FIFA Council at its session in Zurich in January.

The north Africans have received backing from African confederation (CAF) president Ahmad Ahmad.

CAF confirmed Morocco's bid on its website later Friday and should Africa unite behind Morocco, it would give the country a significant amount of support.

This the fourth time Morocco submit its application to host the World Cup after 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010.

The race for 2026 will be FIFA's first World Cup hosting contest since the world body's corruption scandal of 2015, and also the first since the bribery-tainted 2010 votes to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russian Federation and Qatar respectively. Morocco denied the allegations.

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