Rabat – As the momentum of football’s most celebrated mass draws near, FIFA has unveiled a decision that may- soothe the heavy criticism that the organization came under in recent months.
According to a recent ESPN report, FIFA has lifted a ban on voters’ public endorsement of the 2026 World Cup bid.
FIFA issued last month what it called “Integrity Warnings,” in which it urged federations to refrain from publicly commenting on the 2026 bidding procedures, including refraining from publicly declaring which bid they support.
The restrictive move did not sit well with many football officials with Ahmad Ahmad, Confederation of African Football president, expressing his frustration at being denied the right to support “his continent’s bid.”
Amidst relevant officials’ growing frustration at FIFA’s not-so-impartial code of conduct it sent federations last month, its secretary general Fatma Samoura sent this week a new letter in which she explained to all federations FIFA’s new code of conduct regarding the 2026 bidding procedures.
“All public statements by football officials in support if one bidder are admissible provided that they meet the underlying principles of ethical behavior,” Samoura wrote in the letter.
“They shall be limited to genuine support for the preferred bidder and contain no statements against the competitive bidder or requests for bloc voting,” She added.
“Officials shall consider whether, from a common sense perspective, the nature and form of a statement can be considered as ‘fair’ and ‘not unduly influencing the bidding process,’” the letter specified.
Acknowledging that the previous guidelines were “questioned by members of the football community,” Samoura called upon federations to nonetheless uphold “principles of fairness and transparency,” especially by restraining from forming regional blocs.
A move that pundits, while saluting the lift on the previous ban, may see as tacitly addressing itself to the African bloc around Morocco 2026.
“Please also accept the offer of a presentation by the competitive bidder, offering both bidders the same format and attendance,” Samoura said.
With recent reforms within FIFA, the 2026 World Cup will be the first campaign to convene 48 teams, up from 32. It will also be the first whose bidding process will be marked by the participation of all national football federations, as opposed to the customary restricted circle of FIFA executive committee.
The 211 football nations, which form “the FIFA Congress”, are due to vote on June 13 the 2026 World Cup host out of the two contending bids featuring the North American bloc (USA, Canada, Mexico) and Morocco.