By Majid Morceli
San Francisco – In the last few weeks, there has been much talk about Morocco’s world cup chances to be awarded the organization of the world cup.
There are those who said that Morocco’s chances are high, considering the world is not very fond of the American president. Others say that the American administration has not fully backed the North American joint bid, whereas Morocco has a full support of the Moroccan government.
Many analysts stated that Moroccan infrastructure was no match for that of North America.
Others stated that Morocco is a land of soccer and should be awarded the organization of the tournament — omitting that the most popular sport in Mexico a country with 123 million people is indeed soccer.
In the U.S., there are 30 million people involved with soccer. When the US organized the world cup in 1994, the stadiums were at full capacity throughout the tournament, I attended few games myself, and the atmosphere during the games was impeccable, and the stadiums were full.
While the latest CAF 2018 championship was a success, we simply cannot compare the organization of an African event with a world event. Needless to say, only games featuring the Moroccan team were sufficiently attended by soccer fans. The other games were practically deserted. Let us also remember that the organizers did not charge fans any fees to attend the CHAN 2018 games, which likely have increased attendance.
While much of what has been said is true and makes sense in a perfect world, none of the analysts — or at least those I have read so far — mentioned what I think would be the ultimate factor in deciding who will be awarded the organization the FIFA World Cup. It is the strength of the relationship between the candidates and the voting countries that will determine the final outcome. Of course, the benefits the voting countries will garner in return for their vote must also be considered in this case.
Morocco understood very early on that the vote will be based on who you know and not on what infrastructure you possess.
We do not live in a perfect word where common sense prevails. Voting countries will ask themselves who will benefit them the most. Voters are much less interested whether president Trump is for or against Muslims. Saudi Arabia, the so-called guardian of the pillars of Islam just awarded president Trump a $400 billion business deal regardless of his proven animosity toward Muslims. The United Arab Emirates bluntly stated that president Trump has every right to ban Muslims from certain countries from entering the U.S.
South and North American countries will most likely vote for the North American bid for obvious reasons, just as Africa will probably side with Morocco. Some believe that Europe will vote Morocco due to proximity, though other than Spain and France, I cannot be assured that the remaining European countries will vote for Morocco. Their relationship with North America is much more beneficial to them.
Proximity would be the least of their concern when submitting their vote. Let us not forget that even if a certain country has an issue with president Trump’s behavior, Canada and Mexico could not be discarded as factors.
The 50 Asian countries of FIFA do more business with North America and their majority will vote against Morocco. As an example, every single soccer uniform or accessory eventually sold to fans will probably be made in Asian countries which will create jobs in Asia.
Will Morocco be able to convince enough countries that it is in their benefit to vote for us? One thing is certain: time is running out, and Moroccan organizers are wasting it. when dealing with rest of the world, old habits will have to change. So far, we have yet to see or hear how Morocco can make it beneficial for the majority of countries to vote for us.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent any institution or entity.
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