Morocco challenges North America with 2026 World Cup bid | National Sports – Arizona News

Morocco challenges North America with 2026 World Cup bid | National Sports – Arizona News

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

Morocco will bid for the tournament, its soccer federation said Friday, with the announcement coming on FIFA’s deadline day.

Morocco’s last-minute move means a joint North American bid between the United States, Canada and Mexico will not be the only one for 2026.

Morocco had formally launched its bid and sent relevant documents to FIFA, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation said in a brief two-sentence statement.

It’s the North African kingdom’s fifth attempt at hosting the World Cup.

The United States, Canada and Mexico launched their joint bid in April and had hoped to be awarded the World Cup unchallenged, with no other bids seemingly on the horizon. But FIFA decided to keep the contest open, and Morocco said it had made the deadline — just.

The 2026 World Cup is only open to bids from the Americas, Africa and Oceania, with Europe and Asia ineligible because those continents will host the next two World Cups — in Russia in 2018 and in Qatar in 2022.

The US-Canada-Mexico and Morocco bids appeared to be the only two to meet Friday’s deadline and the 2026 host could be decided as early as June next year in Moscow under a fast-tracked process approved by FIFA. Although, if FIFA is not satisfied with the bids, the process could be re-opened to other bidders ahead of a final decision in 2020.

If successful, the U.S.-Canada-Mexico bid would see the World Cup return to…

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