World Cup 2026: Morocco bid team says tournament would be 'almost European'

'We wouldn't bid if we weren't 200% convinced we can deliver' - Morocco bid chief

A World Cup in Morocco would be "almost a European" tournament, the man leading the African nation's 2026 bid says.

Morocco - which is making its fifth attempt to host the finals - faces competition from a joint bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States for the expanded 48-team competition.

Bid chief executive Hicham El Amrani said he was confident the country's infrastructure "could deliver".

"A Moroccan World Cup is not just an African World Cup," he told BBC Sport.

"It would also be almost a European World Cup with the south of Spain just 14km (nine miles) away.

"We're just a few hours' flying distance from capital cities across Europe, and the European countries will provide a huge number of fans."

Morocco wants to become only the second African nation to stage the finals - after the 2010 event in South Africa.

More than 200 of Fifa's member associations will vote to decide the 2026 World Cup host on 13 June.

In contrast to the joint bid from the Americas, Morocco's representatives are keen to emphasise that the maximum internal flying time for any team will be around 75 minutes.

They also believe Morocco's Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) time zone will be attractive to the critical European audiences and to sponsors.

"There is confidence from our meetings with member associations across Europe, they understand where we come from," El Amrani said. "They know Moroccan hospitality and vibrancy."

'Without a doubt we can deliver'

Among Morocco's infrastructure outlined in its World Cup bid are plans for the modernisation and building of motorways, new high-speed trains and an increase in airport capacity.

The north African nation will also use 14 stadia for the tournament, five of which will be existing structures that will be renovated, with the other nine to be built from scratch.

Six of the new stadia will be "modular", meaning the capacity can be reduced after the tournament, with removed seats to be "redistributed" to locations around Morocco and Africa.

However, Fifa experts expressed concerns over hotel capacity and stadiums on a recent visit to the country.

"Infrastructure-wise, without a doubt we can deliver," El Amrani insisted.

"The concept is quite unique, because not only are [the stadia] built to the best international operational standards, but it also opens up space for multi-functional use of the stadium, for other sports and also entertainment.

"It will transform the way we use stadiums, not only for football, but as a living space which the community can use 365 days a year."

Trump should not be a factor - US

While infrastructure has been the main concern around the Moroccan bid, political worries surround the Americas joint bid.

US President Donald Trump tweetedexternal-link that it would be "a shame if countries we always support" lobbied against the US bid.

"Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us (including at the United Nations)?" he wrote.

However, US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said member associations should not let the president's remarks cloud their judgement when it came to the vote.

"All the member associations are focused on what they should be focused on, which is growing the sport at the grassroots," he told BBC Sport.

"They will hopefully be looking at this not in a geopolitical context, but with what is in the best interests of football, Fifa and ultimately themselves."


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