By Mohamed Bella
Rabat – The biblical story of David and Goliath can be applied to many areas of everyday life. Whether it is in business, sports, or politics, this story teaches us how to face gigantic problems and impossible situations.
No one wanted to face the mighty Goliath. They were all scared to death of him, except for David, who decided to come forward and face the giant. Everybody said, “David, sit down! You are no match for Goliath.”
They all saw how David had no shield, no armor, and no sword. On the other hand, Goliath had a sword, a javelin, and a spear. Everyone recognized how David wasn’t as well-equipped as Goliath. However, the young shepherd said, “I can do it! I believe in what I have, and I am able to bring down the giant.”
The account of David facing Goliath applies to the 2026 FIFA World Cup bid. Morocco is entering the race as an underdog against a tripartite coalition of the USA, Canada, and Mexico. No one can deny that the North African country isn’t as fully-equipped as the three North American giants.
Morocco’s infrastructure and economy are no match for those of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. However, as a developing country, Morocco believes in what it has to offer as host of the 48-team tournament. Moroccans believe they can beat the Canada–Mexico–United States 2026 FIFA World Cup bid, which has been branded United 2026.
There can be no doubt that if the World Cup were to happen tomorrow, Morocco wouldn’t be ready to host it. In contrast, the United bid has the capacity, preparedness, and agility to stage the tournament not only tomorrow, but today. However, the 2026 FIFA World Cup is neither today nor tomorrow. It is a fact that Morocco’s infrastructure is far behind that of the United bid countries. However, just like Morocco’s bid shows certain disadvantages and advantages, the United bid does as well.
In terms of safety and security, crime rates and gun issues continue to exist in North America. A report released on February of this year by the Center for American Progress stated that American guns were used in crimes in both Mexico and Canada. In 2016, Mexico had the second-highest rate of murders, second only to the war-torn Syria. By contrast, Morocco’s proposal to host the 2026 World Cup promises safety for visiting teams and fans. According to the Global Terrorism Index, Morocco is safer than Germany, Spain, the UK, and France, and far safer than the US, Canada, and Mexico.
Regarding television broadcasting, a World Cup in North America means a loss in revenues within European and Middle Eastern television markets as most viewers can’t watch football games based in the North American time zone, which is 5 hours or more behind.
Morocco’s Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and proximity to both European and Middle Eastern lucrative markets is a favorable feature that could elevate the value of the World Cup television ratings as well as generate a large portion of FIFA’s revenues. Morocco is on the same time zone as the UK; two hours behind Germany, Spain, Italy, and France; and three hours behind Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
FIFA World Cup corporate sponsors and partners are paramount pillars of the world’s most popular sports event. Morocco’s time zone and location are qualities that can attract European and Middle Eastern sponsors in order to improve the profitability of FIFA. Having said that, there is no doubt that the United bid, by and large, would be a monumental event, especially in the USA as Uncle Sam’s land has a great history and culture in traditional sporting events.
Besides, FIFA is seeking to establish a market in North America as North American sponsors and partners will fill FIFA coffers along with the already existing partners such as the Russian, Qatari, and Chinese sponsors. In fact, the World Cup would be a sure-fire opportunity to take advantage of an underutilized resource like North America. What FIFA would lose in Europe and the Middle East would be a win within the North American market.
FIFA always does what is best for its own business and politics, not what is best for football fans. While a World Cup in North America would bring loads of cash into FIFA’s treasure chest, it would, on the other hand, empty the fans’ pockets.
The expense of traveling to and around three countries is high,and the majority of fans can’t afford it. Having the World Cup in Morocco would save the supporters from crossing an entire continent just to watch football matches.
Speaking of fans, unlike its American and Canadian fellows, Morocco is a big fan of football. It is without a doubt a pivotal component of Morocco’s culture. On any day and in any place, football is part of Moroccan life. Case in point, the Chief Executive Officer of Morocco’s bid stated during a presentation in Marrakesh, “Football is in our DNA.” Football to Moroccans is like American football, basketball, or baseball is to Americans, or like Ice hockey or lacrosse to Canadians.
To become the World Cup’s host nation, Morocco’s bid and the United bid both need to go through two phases. First, to get to the next stage, they need to obtain approval by FIFA’s Executive Committee that is under the control of the FIFA Board. The second and final phase is voting, which is conducted among all of FIFA’s 211 member federations.
The polling is in the hands of nations and federations that will seek what is best for their own business, teams, supporters, and politics. In the long run, to host the World Cup is a business and political game as much as a sporting one. Politics and business will play a role in determining who hosts the 2026 World Cup.
Clearly, Morocco still believes in its few pros to bring down the joint power of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Like David, Morocco enters the battle with only a slim chance of winning, but therein lies all the magic. There is a Moroccan proverb that says, “Thou shalt not underestimate the force of a thin wooden rod, because it can blind you.”
Walking towards Goliath with confidence, David puts a stone in his sling and rolls it around and lets it fly. It hits Goliath’s forehead and the giant falls face-down at David’s feet.
Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times, “We consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong by failing to realize that giants have weaknesses and that underdogs can accomplish the unexpected.” At the end of the day, David’s unorthodox weapon proved to be an advantage that helped him win the duel against the powerful giant.