Rabat – After incurring months of heavy criticism for his alleged preference for the North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup, FIFA president Gianni Infantino is now sending messages of objectivity and neutrality ahead of next week’s vote to determine the winning bid.
“FIFA can afford whatever the congress decides,” Infantino said on Monday, a suggestion that no one in the FIFA administration would begrudge Morocco its success should the Moroccan bid triumph on June 13.
“We have to live with that and to make the best of any decision which is taken,” Infantino added.
Last week, the task force published its final assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the two contending bids. Morocco’s bid, which was deemed “sufficient” by FIFA’s committee of technical experts, was declared “fit” to organize a tournament at FIFA standards for the World Cup.
The task force, however, ranked the North American bid “significantly higher” in terms of projected financial returns.
Asked whether Morocco’s triumph would be more costly for FIFA, Infantino stated that “money is one element, but not the only [one].” According to Infantino, the report only highlighted that a prospective Moroccan triumph would require more investment in construction and renovation.
Adamant that the task force was diligent and fair, Infantino reiterated FIFA’s executive board’s neutrality throughout the entire process of the evaluation and scrutiny of the Moroccan and the joint North American bids: “What our task has been is to make sure the process is as objective, as clear as possible and to highlight the pros and the cons of everything.”
To national federations, however, Infantino’s message is that voting should be based on merit alone, rather than on any other criteria which the FIFA president described as “subjective.”
“I hope when they vote they think what is best for football, definitely not on other subjective criteria that they might have for themselves.”