2026 World Cup: Morocco Fights for Crucial England Vote

Published May 23rd, 2018 - 02:43 GMT
 Morocco and their rival 2026 World Cup bidders are scrambling for England’s vote as the ballot day nears
Morocco and their rival 2026 World Cup bidders are scrambling for England’s vote as the ballot day nears

The North African country faces intense opposition from a joint bid by the United States, Canada and Mexico for the June 13 poll at the Fifa Congress.

While Fifa’s bid evaluation Task Force is expected to announce if both bids have satisfied criteria to be eligible to contest on May 29, the jostling for the votes have climaxed with few key electors yet to pronounce their allegiance.

“The Task Force charged by Fifa to evaluate both the North American and Morocca 2026 Fifa World Cup bids will make its verdict on the eligibility of both files to progress to Fifa congress on May 29,” Sky Sports News quoted the Morocco bid as saying.

Both bids however appear buoyant that they will sail through to the voting stage as they heighten their efforts to sway voters.

According to ESPN, they are both expected to make presentations to the Football Association during its board meeting on May 31.

The England vote is viewed as the most crucial one, given the country’s strong influence in world football.

With other influential European federations including France, Spain and Russia having already declared their support for Morocco, England’s announcement has massive potential to command the electorate.

Morocco so far appears to be the most favoured selection, after also receiving public backing from the majority of Caf members, Oceania and the bulk of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperations.

The North Africans also seem to have already won the support of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Lichtenstein, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland whose representatives are set to meet in Hungary on May 29, as they seek to cement a stranglehold on Uefa members.

They are also expected to present their case to the Football Association of Wales on June 4, as most Europeans seem to have fallen for the appealing North African time zone.

But the joint American bid looks to undo the Moroccans after presenting figures of tantalising revenue boom projected to be generated from ticket sales and television rights if they are handed hosting mandate.

Sympathy for the United bid is expected to come from Concacaf members, South America and the Middle East.

US President Donald Trump’s threats of retribution on African countries who stand with Morocco could also see those who have publicly spurned the American bid changing loyalty right at the ballot box.

South Africa who regard themselves as influential on their continent together with the Scottish FA are for now sitting on the fence undecided.

Scotland have met the Moroccans and the American bid but have said: “We listened to and were impressed by their proposals. It is now a matter for our board to consider,” according to the Press Association Sport.

Africa has hosted the Fifa World Cup just once in 2010 in South Africa and this is Morocco’s fifth attempt to host the global football quadrennial tournament.

By Michael Madyira

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