Rabat – FIFA has finally published its evaluation report on Morocco’s 2026 and North America’s United 2026 bid. Both bids made it to the last phase, when 211 football associations will cast their votes for the candidature they wish to win the hosting rights of the FIFA 2026 World Cup.
Morocco hopes to be the second African country to host the world premier tournament in 2026, preparing a “well presented and strong” bid “in terms of government commitment,” according to the FIFA task force.
The report demonstrates both the strengths and weaknesses of the Moroccan bid. The task force said in their evaluation report that Morocco needs to do a lot of work to guarantee stadiums that meet FIFA requirements for football fans and the 48 football teams, as well as good accomodation services.
In its bid, Morocco promised to make 14 stadiums ready to house the games of the World Cup. FIFA’s task force said that 9 of the 14 stadiums need to be built from the ground up, while the 5 existing stadiums need significant renovation.
More work to be done
The report has shut down rumors that the task force will disqualify the Moroccan bid before the vote, scheduled for June 13 in Moscow during the 68th FIFA Congress.
The evaluation, however, acknowledged that the government needs to do serious infrastructure work to make the North African country eligible to host the tournament. FIFA’s task force gave Morocco a score of 2.7 out of 5, while the United 2026 bid obtained a score of 4 out of 5.
The United 2026 bid includes three countries bidding to host the tournament (US, Mexico, and Canada), while the Moroccan bid is playing solo to get the hosting rights.
Morocco said that the renovation and construction of stadiums would require an investment of USD 2.2 million. Morocco’s bid committee has also promised FIFA that the renovation projects will be completed two years before the tournament: 2024.
The Moroccan committee has also promised FIFA that all stadiums, will “be fully compliant with FIFA’s requirements.”
The task force also said that Morocco will still have to build more than half of the 130 promised training sites.
The Moroccan cabinet also pledged to finance all infrastructure works within its competency.
In March, Morocco’s Minister of Trade and Industry and chairman of the Moroccan bid committee Moulay Hafid Elalamy said that the country will need a budget of USD 15.8 billion, including USD 3.2 billion from the private sector, in order to stage the tournament.
FIFA positive about proximity between cities
FIFA said that Morocco is blessed with strategic proximity between the 12 cities selected to stage the games: El Jadida, Nador, Fez, Marrakech, Oujda, Agadir, Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Tetouan and Meknes.
“All of the host cities are located within a 550-km radius of Casablanca, which also serves as the main international gateway to the country.”
The evaluation notes that both Casablanca and Marrakech’s international airports will serve as the gateways for visitors as both handle a “marked increase in domestic flights to the other proposed cities.”
The task force also commended the significant improvement of intercity connectivity, owing to the building of high-speed rail lines and road improvements. The evaluation report, however, suggested more improvement in terms of frequency of trains and high-speed lines and public transport capacity between city centers and stadiums.
FIFA needs to guarantee good revenue for itself. The North American bid is forecasting the world governing football body a profit of USD 14.3 billion, double Morocco’s forecast: USD 7.2 billion.
According to the report, Morocco’s bid scored “solidly when it comes to financial and commercial considerations.”
The report added that the organizing costs are estimated at USD 1.9 billion if the tournament were to be held in Morocco. According to the report, this is “lower than the baseline figure, which was derived from the organizing costs for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Morocco satisfied with task force report
Elalamy said: “We are all excited about being qualified for this stage and declared fit to organize such an event.”
The Moroccan official promised to convince associations to vote for the Moroccan bid. “In the coming days, we will continue our mission to demonstrate to FIFA and the global football family, our ability to organize a genuine and profitable FIFA World Cup.
The chairman of the committee also promised the world an “innovative, responsible and also compact with limited trips between matches, an asset that will allow players and fans to fully enjoy the event.”
He added that football is an integral part of the Moroccan identity, promising a “magical and vibrant World Cup for players and fans in all our cities.”
President of the Royal Football Federation (FRMF) and member of the Moroccan bid committee Fouzi Lekjaa said that if they choose Morocco on June 13, the “football family will make a historic choice that will allow FIFA to continue the development of football in the world.”
Now the real countdown for the vote has begun. Eleven days remain until the FIFA congress, where football associations from all corners of the world will cast their vote for the future host of the World Cup.