Rabat - As Morocco continues its campaigning efforts to assure and hone its hosting rights by reassuring the footballing community that is “ready” and “, news from football’s highest deciding body is rather alarming for Africa’s candidate.
Rabat – As Morocco continues its campaigning efforts to assure and hone its hosting rights by reassuring the footballing community that is “ready” and “, news from football’s highest deciding body is rather alarming for Africa’s candidate.
Following this week’s official presentations of the two contending bids for FIFA 2026 hosting rights, FIFA announced that the 2026 Task Force, a group of “experts” to evaluate the merits of each bid, would “now carry an assessment process.”
The group is charged with the “technical evaluation” of contending bids’ merits, FIFA’s report said, adding that the appraisal process is supposed to “include visits to the respective member associations.”
With its 2026 task force, FIFA vowed to guarantee “fairness, objectivity, and transparency.”
Recognizing that his organization “has been heavily criticized for how it conducted the selection of hosts,” FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino promised that the 2026 voting procedures would be “different” and “fairer” to the contenders and all the involved parties.
However, Infantino’s gospel of “impartiality” and “fairness” has not been received by many national and continental representatives in FIFA’s executive committee, therefore denying unanimous support to the FIFA officials selected to lead the 2026 Task Force.
“Bids can be blocked from the FIFA Congress vote on June 13 if they are scored lowly by a task force, which is packed with people appointed to jobs by Infantino,” ESPN reported on March 28, clearly suggesting the reason for CAF and Morocco’s concerns about the Task Force’s credibility and “impartiality.”
Some furious members of CAF are even reported to have accused the 2026 Task Force of being composed of “Infantino’s boys,” implying a “secret plot” to rule out or “eliminate” Morocco’s bid before the June 13 election in Moscow. Like Infantino himself, almost all the members that constitute the Task Force are known for being pro-United 2026, some CAF officials said, suggesting the prevailing belief in the Moroccan press that “none of the officials in the designated Task Force knows has a good knowledge of Morocco.”
The Majority of CAF’s officials, including the organization’s president Ahmad Ahmad, think that although The Task Force can freely and rightfully appraise the technical merits of contenders, it should not have the right or power to eliminate a candidate
Should the allegations be true, UEFA is joining CAF’s battle to subvert and undermine the “extensive prerogatives” of the 2026 Task Force. And according to CAF’s “African bloc,” which is a fervent supporter of Morocco’s bid, the committee should instead focus on giving the FIFA community relevant but non-binding observations, rather than decide on who is eligible or not.
Despite Infantino’s incessant appeals of “neutrality and transparency,” UEFA and CAF officials are adamant that the Swiss man used his influence to select a “partial committee of “pro-Americans” (three former Yugoslavians, one Indian, and one Swiss). For them, the absence of a person with a good grasp of Morocco is a sufficient reason for partiality and inequity.
Amidst the avalanche of objections, Infantino, who also recently faced criticisms over his “overt support” for United 2026’s bid, has announced that he will not be present at the FIFA gathering on June 13 in Moscow.
In a statement shared with The Associated Press, FIFA said that Infantino’s decision not to join Moscow on the voting day is motivated by his commitment to “an objective and transparent vote.” Infantino’s decision has been hailed by FIFA as a sign of his “unwavering” commitment to fairness and objectivity, hinting that he would not want his presence to influence some voters on June 13.
“As a reminder, the FIFA president will not take part in the vote of the congress and is not involved in the work of the task force who will conduct the technical evaluation,” FIFA’s statement to The Associated Press read.
In sharp contrast, however, analysts and observers in the footballing community have been quick to perceive the Swiss man’s move as a defensive stance aimed at undermining and discrediting all the “partial” and “Pro-America” criticisms he has been receiving for the past months.
Whatever the reasons for Infantino’s decision of “not meddling in the bidding contest,” and despite the 2026 Task Force’s reportedly professed inclination towards an American 2026 World Cup, the North African nation’s organizing committee has been confident that “Africa’s candidate” is more than ever ready to host the World Cup, hinting that no maneuvers will be able to undermine the “tremendous efforts” the country has been putting in the prospective success of its bid.
Speaking recently at a Casablanca press conference about the Task Force controversy, Morocco’s bid chairman Moulay Hafid Elalamy said: “If we are eliminated because we do not deserve—in a sporting sense—to host the tournament, then we can accept our defeat. But if other conditions play into the contest—for we believe that we are ready and qualified to host the tournament—we’ll defend our bid and fight for our right for hosting.”