Conmebol behind United 2026 as South Africa backs Morocco
Conmebol, the South American soccer confederation, has endorsed the North American bid for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, while South Africa has given its backing to the rival bid from Morocco.
Conmebol follows in the footsteps of the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) which has also pledged its support to the USA-Canada-Mexico bid.
In a statement on Friday, United 2026 said: "The United Bid of Canada, Mexico and the United States is grateful for today's endorsement by Conmebol, the confederation representing ten South American member associations. This announcement builds on the support of UNCAF's six voting member associations that the United Bid was honoured to receive in March.
“We look forward to continuing our conversations with Member Associations around the world, highlighting the operational and economic certainty of our bid for the entire Fifa family."
The United 2026 bid is up against Morocco in the race to host the World Cup, which has not been played in North America since 1994 when USA was the sole host.
In its submission last month United 2026 announced a list of 23 potential host cities, of which Fifa is expected to choose 16 to stage matches if the bid is successful.
There are 17 from USA and three each from Mexico and Canada.
If the bid is successful, USA is expected to stage 60 of the 80 matches, with 10 each in the other two host countries.
Morocco’s bid today received the support of the South Africa Football Association.
Declaring his support, Danny Jordaan, president of Safa, said: “It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best FIFA World Cup ever [in South Africa in 2010] and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa.
“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards; from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world.”
Jordaan was the head of the organising committee for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, which was chosen ahead of Morocco to stage that particular tournament.
Earlier this month, officials from Algeria and Angola revealed that they would also be supporting Morocco's bid.
Government ministers from both Dominica and St Lucia have publicly backed the Moroccan candidacy but the Caribbean Football Union has stressed that the statements do not mean the countries' soccer representatives will vote that way in June.
Morocco plans to spend around $16 billion to get the country in shape to stage the World Cup.
Nine new stadiums are planned, including a 93,000-capacity national team home in Casablanca that would stage the opening game and final in 2026.
If both bids pass eligibility tests, the selection of the 2026 World Cup host will be made by the full Fifa membership at a Congress in Moscow on 13 June, the eve of this year's tournament in Russia.
Officials from Fifa's evaluation task force arrived in Morocco today to begin inspections.
The group will visit several cities, stadiums and training camps this week.
The task force has already completed its trip to North America, which last week took in Mexico City, Atlanta, Toronto and New York/New Jersey.