Big on promises, little on detail: Morocco launches 2026 World Cup bid
Morocco 2026, the north African country in the running to host that year's Fifa World Cup, today unveiled its official bid logo and leadership, but no details have emerged as to where it plans to stage matches, should it be awarded the tournament in June.
Making his first public appearance as bid chairman, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Morocco's minister for industry, investment trade and digital economy, told a news conference in Casablanca that the country is "honoured" to be bidding "to host this wonderful festival of football."
Elalamy "hailed the extensive work" completed by the bid team and the FRMF, the Moroccan football association, since the country declared its intention to bid for the tournament in August, but little has been said publicly since then. In contrast, its only rival for 2026, a three-way Americas bid involving USA, Canada and Mexico, has been very vocal.
Indeed, it was only last week's hire by the FRMF of Vero Communications, the consultancy firm run by Mike Lee, that threw the bid back in the spotlight, just five months before Fifa members are due to elect the host country/countries.
Morocco 2026 said its bid highlights "the world-class stadiums, infrastructure and commercial opportunities that the country has to offer Fifa," albeit no proposed venues or host cities were announced today.
Elalamy said the bid committee is in discussions with likely host cities, and that a shortlist of potential venues would be announced in due course, with a final list being submitted to Fifa in mid-March.
The World Cup will expand to 48 teams for 2026 (up from 32 at Qatar 2022), meaning more stadia are likely to be required.
Elalamy said: “Morocco 2026 will showcase the best of football, at the heart of the world in the dynamic continent of Africa. We are ready to welcome the world and it is our promise to stage a tournament overflowing with real passion and to celebrate the game’s values of unity, peace and integrity.
“A Fifa World Cup in Morocco will deliver commercial success and leave a long-lasting legacy and if we win the honour of hosting then we believe the winners will be football, the young people of our nation, Africa and the world.”
FRMF president Fouzi Lekjaa added: “We have assembled a committed, enthusiastic, and experienced team to bring our vision to life for the 2026 Fifa World Cup. Today marks an important moment as we fully begin our campaign to showcase our bid to the people of Morocco, the international community and all the national associations of Fifa.
“We are working hard to submit a superb bid to Fifa in mid-March and we will reveal more details as we move forward. We may surprise many people with our strong infrastructure and commercial offering, and we will highlight our wonderful welcome, host cities and stunning locations. It promises to be a truly special bid.”
Morocco 2026 also announced that Hicham El Amrani, the former secretary general of the Confederation of African Football, has been appointed chief executive of the bid. The Moroccan administrator quit CAF last March, a week after Issa Hayatou lost the presidential election. He had been in the post for six years, prior to which he was marketing manager of the Asian Football Confederation.London-based Vero is the lead agency on all aspects of international media and social media communications. It worked on Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, where the tiny Gulf state beat USA, among other countries, in the process.
Morocco bid to host the 2010 World Cup, awarded to South Africa, its fourth unsuccessful pitch after failed attempts for the 1994, 1998 and 2006 events.