New York – Hosting the World Cup in 2026 will help Morocco spread its renaissance across Africa and into the Middle East, benefiting Europe and even the North American allies.
For the past several years, Morocco has focused on aggressive reconstruction of its cities, many of which are becoming popular tourist attractions, while also building new infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, pipelines, and water desalination plans.
Morocco is revamping its educational system, creating new skills building and jobs training programs for young professionals, hosting nearly 20 cultural festivals a year, and participating in many more abroad.
Morocco is already a happening place, but after recently rejoining the African Union, it is also becoming a continental powerhouse and a rising star. Through a mixture of business deals and development aid, Morocco is helping its African neighbors combat security issues and poverty, and developing entrepreneurial and cultural ties.
Hosting the World Cup, a passion of Morocco, would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, but at the same time a watershed moment for the country’s ambitious development plan.
Morocco has been planning for the bid for years. In preparation for the deluge of fans, tourists, and sponsors, Morocco worked hard to become more presentable, refurbish cities, and modernize a country which boasts a rich and ancient cultural heritage.
The World Cup would be a unifier, bringing friendly competitive challenges to the lands which are home to multiple ethnicities and religions, living peacefully side by side for thousands of years. The competition would also act as an economic, political, and cultural bridge between the rest of Africa and the Middle East with Europe.
All of these regions have had some difficult recent years; coming together for a show of sportsmanship would not solve all problems, but it would provide a different vantage point due to the geographic and cultural significance of the host country to all its visitors.
Hosting would also provide a ray of hope to Morocco’s aspiring neighbors. Morocco’s exemplary progress in science; technology; energy development, boasting the largest solar field in the world; the arts; and increasing liberalization would show that any dream is achievable with hard work, vision, and a unique use of human resources.
Morocco has likewise achieved an enviable level of security and stability. Spared from terrorist attacks since 2011, the country is a model to its troubled West African, Middle East, and European counterparts, many of which have benefited from Morocco’s intelligence sharing and counterterrorism expertise.
Seeing that such stability is possible amidst regional turmoil could be the impetus needed towards replicating the same: the ability to host a large scale event in countries that up to this point had only thought about how to get by.
Hosting the World Cup could mean that for Morocco, as potentially, for many others, the era of soft bigotry and low expectations is finally over, that their efforts have been noticed, and they are becoming equal, valuable, and valued counterparts in international human development, rather than dismissed as “developing countries” with something to prove.
All of that is endangered by the joint bid of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which joined the bid race in April 2017.
By all accounts, Los Angeles, along with its Canadian and Mexican sister cities, would be a fine place to host a major scale event such as the World Cup. They have the infrastructure, the funding, and they would certainly generate enough revenue to make up for the expenditure.
Indeed, Morocco, in this race, is an underdog. It was ranked lower than the United States on almost all indices, except for the government support. As critics point out, a Morocco bid would require billions dollars of spending towards infrastructure development, and generate half the revenue the “United 2026” bid is projecting.
But the money is actually the very reason why Morocco should be the host.
Working towards a major achievement against seemingly insurmountable odds is a stimulus for an energetic, optimistic, hard-working, and talented population of a country that is striving to be a leader in Africa and to benefit much of the world with the fruits of its progress.
When one has a dream, perhaps even an impossible dream, one breaks one’s own boundaries, all expectations, all glass ceilings to achieve that noble end.
The fact that Morocco is ready to make those investments, which will continue to pay off for the country and its visitors long after the competition is over, should be enough of a reason for any country to vote for Morocco if it wishes to see prosperity, an economic boom, and the broadening of expertise, industries, and enterprises.
FIFA and European states can be a part of something significantly greater than a one-time event.
It would be easier for the United States to host the World Cup. It would also not be particularly meaningful as football is nowhere near the country’s favorite sport. In fact, it is a fine point of cultural distinctions for Americans to not care about “soccer” except during occasional championships.
While the North America bid may indeed generate twice the revenue as Morocco would, in Morocco that money would go a much longer way.
Morocco has waited to host the championship for so long, and finally getting that opportunity would bring an unprecedented number of investors to its shores, continuing to generate income in terms of tourists, memorabilia, additional investments, and ability to capitalize on the newly built infrastructure for decades to come.
The championship would not be the end, but a beginning, a great start towards bigger and better projects. For the United States, it would be just another big event, and furthermore, it would ultimately turn into a visa-related nightmare and a logistical headache of coordinating with two other countries.
If the US hosts the game, it will be forgotten the day after it is over. No one thinks about it now, and it is not creating any particular changes or stimulating any creative drives.
For Morocco, it could be a significant contribution towards the positive transformation it is undergoing, which could make it a better and stronger partner for the very countries that are now expecting to cast their votes.
Europe and FIFA should help Morocco’s long-standing dream come true and be part of an investment into a much brighter future for Africa, for the Middle East, and for Europe, as well.