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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

GAMBIA, OTHERS ROOT FOR MOROCCO 2026 BID

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In what many described as a correct diplomatic move the Gambia Football Federation’s public support for Morocco’s 2026 bid has been followed by an overwhelming number of African nations. A few weeks ago GFF President Lamin Kaba Bajo who has strong bonds with Morocco where he served as Gambia’s Ambassador, announced the Gambia will support the North African nation in its desire to host Africa’s second world Cup. Now according to a reputable online news site aroundtherings.com Algeria, Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tunisia have all publicly announced their support for Morocco’s bid.

The football world may know by May 29 whether the 2026 World Cup is hosted by either a joint North American candidacy or Morocco. Fifa will apparently reveal on that day whether both candidacies have passed the recent tests they endured from the body’s Evaluation Task Force and can progress to the voting stage. The vote to determine the 2026 host is schedule for June 13 at next FIFA’s Congress in Moscow, the day before the opening match of the 2018 World Cup between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia. But at this point it is unknown whether both bidders, especially Morocco, will make it to the finish line.
The Task Force inspected the two candidacies for the World Cup and determined that a second visit had to be conducted to Morocco as the inspectors “noticed some deviations from the initial planned program” during the first trip to the African country.

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On the contrary, FIFA did not deem it necessary to engage in a second inspection of the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico. FIFA will rate bids on a scale of zero to five on issues from stadiums and hotels to infrastructure. To pass, no scores must be lower than two.

The Task Force charged by FIFA to evaluate both the North American and Moroccan 2026 FIFA World Cup bids will make its verdict on the eligibility of both files to progress to FIFA Congress on 29 May,” Morocco 2026 announced on Twitter. FIFA however has not made an official announcement.

In many circles it is believed that FIFA President Gianni Infantino favors the North American candidacy in part due to the financial gains a United World Cup would generate. The U.S has announced that a North American 2026 World Cup would produce net profits for FIFA of $11 billion.
A World Cup in North Africa will generate revenues of $7.2 billion and profits for FIFA of $5 billion, claims Morocco.

Then Morocco’s bid was put into question when FIFA’S secretary general Fatma Samoura was investigated for a possible family link with El Hadji Diouf, a Morocco 2026 ambassador. Both come from Senegal. The claim was false and she was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Most African countries are excpted to support Morroco. However South Africa despite becoming the first African country to host the World Cup in 2010, is expected to break ranks and vote for the rival North American bid in what would be a blow to the African cause.
South Africa and Morocco have had strained relations since 2004 when South Africa recognized the independence of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by Morocco in 1975.

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