Morocco submits bid for hosting 2026 FIFA World Cup

Morocco submits bid for hosting 2026 FIFA World Cup

Morocco has officially entered the race for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, it was announced today. If successful, the North African state will follow Russian Federation and Qatar in hosting the blue-riband soccer event.

Morocco aims to host the tournament 16 years after South Africa staged the first ever African World Cup, but is considered an outsider against the joint might of the North American project.

The federation declared on Friday that Morocco had submitted the request application to the World Cup's commission in charge of the organization in the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

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 deadline for a country to express their intention to bid to host the tournament is Friday.

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If Morocco is to bid for the 2026 edition, they will face competition from the United States, Canada and Mexico who announced to joint bid for the 2026 showpiece. In 1994, Morocco was the first African and Arab country to submit its bid to host the World Cup.

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.

Morocco's bid may also be undermined by the fact that it backed out of its last major hosting duties, when it won the rights to but then declined to stage the 2015 African Cup of Nations at the last moment because of fears over the spread of the Ebola virus from West Africa.

If they offer a bid, it will be the fifth time the African country has done so having bid in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010. In 2013 and 2014, the kingdom hosted the FIFA Club World Cup.