Factbox on Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup, which will be decided at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on June 13.
Main points of bid
*Reusable stadiums – Five new stadiums are to be built with temporary structures which will be removed after the World Cup to allow the venues to be turned into more sustainable facilities. They are called modular legacy stadiums.
*Proximity – Each host city can be reached by motorways or rail links with almost all venues having an airport close by.
*Tourist infrastructure – Morocco is a growing destination with tourism expanding rapidly since the country is a short distance from Europe, where most traveling fans hail from.
*Political positioning – Morocco is billing itself as a bridge between cultures and civilizations, with an African anchor, a bridge to Europe and as a stalwart of the Arab and Islamic world.
*Overall investment – Almost $16 billion, mostly on improving infrastructure.
*Stadiums — $2.1 billion, fully funded and guaranteed by the National Government. The Ministry of Youth and Sports will own the 14 stadiums.
*Morocco’s bid book claimed the tournament was projected to create 110,000 jobs and generate an economic boost of almost $2.7 billion for Morocco from 2019 to 2026.
*Morocco will use 14 stadiums situated in 12 cities — Agadir, Casablanca (2), El Jadida, Fes, Marrakech (2), Meknes, Nador, Ouadja, Ouarzazate, Rabat, Tanger, Tetouan.
2010 – Morocco made it to the final round of voting by the FIFA executive committee but was pipped by four votes by South Africa in an all-African contest.
2006 – Morocco was one of four countries bidding but was eliminated after the first round of voting. Germany won the right to host with a controversial victory over South Africa.
1998 – France was elected to host the World Cup for a second time with a 12-7 victory over Morocco as third candidate Switzerland withdrew before the vote.
1994 – Morocco’s first bid was found by FIFA inspectors to have only one stadium up to World Cup standards but still got seven votes with winners the U.S. garnering 10 and Brazil two.
*Morocco has significantly increased its sporting and tourist infrastructure since it first bid more than two decades ago but it is a small country for a tournament that will be double the size of this year’s finals in Russia.
*The size of Morocco’s economy and the boost the country can offer FIFA coffers pails into insignificance in comparison to the potential of the joint north American bid.
*With Qatar hosting the 2022 finals, Morocco might be prejudiced by the lack of appetite for a second successive World Cup in the Arab-speaking world.
*Morocco will hope to turn anti-American sentiment across the world into votes but regional politics means it cannot be assured of a united African vote (54) as the cornerstone of their efforts.
Joint North American bid 2/3
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Ken Ferris. Reuters)