Rabat - Fouzi Lekjaa, President of Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) is adamant in his belief that Morocco has the potential to beat the three-nation North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
Rabat – Fouzi Lekjaa, President of Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) is adamant in his belief that Morocco has the potential to beat the three-nation North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
For Lekjaa, the word impossible is nothing. Discussing Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup with Moroccan daily Al Massae, the FRMF president said that the process by which the host country of the competition is chosen has changed.
It has now become based on a vote of all members of the FIFA. Lekjaa added that this can be in favor of Morocco, “unlike previous times when only the Executive Committee had the last word about the matter.”
Lekjaa said that 104 votes for Morocco will be enough for the country to host the 2026 world tournament. In fact, around 221 national federations at a congress in Moscow will decide who is eligible to host the 23rd FIFA World Cup in June 2018. The candidates’ files should meet FIFA’s technical terms, including infrastructure and commercial criterias.
Candidates will have to submit their complete candidacy files and proposals by March 16.
Lekjaa , who is also the 3rd vice president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), said that a Moroccan delegation met with FIFA officials in order to discuss Morocco’s 2026 World Cup candidacy.
For the president, FIFA is looking forward to examine candidates proposals, adding that the federation already knows that there are still nine years ahead the tournament. “Those who compare Morocco to the US economically are absolutely wrong,” Lekjaa told Al Massae.
FIFA has advised Morocco to build more stadiums with limited capacity, according to Lekjaa. He added that Morocco only needs stadiums that can offer 25,000 seats. “We are obliged to make investments, but they are not heavy ones,” he added.
Lekjaa also said that the three-American bidders tried to negotiate for their files to pass without a vote, assuring that he refused the deal after a whole day of talk.
In December, Sunil Gulati, president of the US Soccer Federation said that the North American bidders are expecting Morocco to “campaign hard” in order to host the 2026 World Cup.
“We expect Morocco to put forward a very good bid […] we expect them to campaign hard,” he said.
Morocco submitted its candidacy to host the tournament on August 11, 2017. The bid was highly endorsed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, Ahmad Ahmad.
The 21 first edition of the tournament will take place in Russia in the summer of 2018. The competition will be marked by the participation of Morocco, whose team was absent from the tournament since 1998. Qatar will be the host country of the 22nd edition of the World Cup in 2022.