Rabat – In a move aimed at countering and undermining the growing appeal of Morocco’s 2026 bid within the international footballing community, authorities in charge of piloting the North American bid have taken upon themselves to announce the creation of a “tripartite committee” which will from now on be charged with organizing and supervising the North American bid.
According to a letter that United 2026 sent to all members of FIFA, this change of strategy—the bid was until now led by the United States’ football federation—is a response to the recent resignation of Sunil Gulati. Although recently voted out of the presidency of the US’s football federation (he chose not to run in the election), Sunil Gulati maintained his post as chief of the United 2026’s organizing committee, with the North American bid hoping, until recently at least, to capitalize on his long-standing “positive image” within footballing communities.
Now, instead of the bid being led by US footballing authorities, a joint committee of Canadian, American, and Mexican federations will oversee the countries’ associated bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. According to a recent ESPN report, the organizing committee will from now on be presided over by a joint presidency, namely America’s Carlos Cardeiro, Mexico’s Decio de Maria, and Canada’s Steve Reed. “United, as one, Canada, Mexico, and the United States are ready to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and help propel the global game to new insights,” the letter also said.
“The joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico to win the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup has undergone a leadership shuffle aimed at changing the bid’s campaign tactics,” ESPN wrote, adding that it “reported last week that the bid could be in jeopardy.”
Although “United 2026” (the organizing committee) has explained on its website that “the strategic change” is purely a traditional and needed formality aimed at showcasing and strengthening “unity” within the three federations, especially following Gulati’s resignation, ESPN has offered a different reading of the situation. According to the sporting media giant, this abrupt change speaks volumes about the seriousness of “the Moroccan threat”, especially given the fact that the new FIFA bidding regulations are, at least on paper, bordering on a Moroccan Victor on June 13.
“The move comes as amid concerns that the joint bid, long considered the favorite to win the hosting rights, is in danger of losing out to Morocco,” ESPN further noted.
It should be noted here that Morocco, which has already secured the voting bloc of Africa, its home continent, is also said to be the most favored bid for the Arab world, many European federations, as well as South America (said to be holding “special grudges” against Trump’s America).
Politics-wise, however, this new strategy might also be aimed at undermining the effect of any malign influence that Trump’s unfavorable international reputation could have on “United 2026.” After all, by saying that the US is no longer single-handedly leading the bid, “United 2026” is surreptitiously telling national federations not to consider Donald Trump while voting on June 13. But, with the Kingdom being said to “finally deserve a World Cup, for the sake of Africa”, will United 2026’s new strategy succeed in dislodging Morocco’s already established reputation as an appropriate and serious candidate for holding the 2026 FIFAWorld Cup? Considering recent reports, the answer to that question is a resounding “No.”