By: Karen Duarte
Rabat – Currently, more than 50 African voting federations are being urged to show unity as a continent and back Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup. Below is the latest on World Cup preparations and meetings of football leaders ahead of the tournament in Russia today (all Morocco local times):
According to American television channel Fox Sports, El Hadji Diouf, the former Senegal and Liverpool forward, urged African football leaders to “hold hands” on June 13 when Morocco competes with the North American bid.
Liberia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe have pledged support in recent weeks for the joint United States-Canada-Mexico candidate. The North Americans have targeted voters in the southern African group known as COSAFA.
Confederation of African Football President Ahmad asked voters to “show cohesion within our continent.”
The Madagascar official says, “I think there is an obligation to remain within our family. But of course, it is an individual choice.”
The Morocco and North American bid leaders are meeting voters from five of FIFA’s six continental bodies today. The bid leaders will meet Europe’s UEFA on Tuesday.
Morocco football leader Fouzi Lekjaa says he doubts the financial promises made by the rival North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
Lekjaa told more than 50 African football federations that “there is lots of uncertainty” in the cash projections of the joint United States-Canada-Mexico bid
According to Fox Sports, the North American bid predicts $14.3 billion in revenue for FIFA from the 48-team tournament. FIFA’s evaluation panel noted that was “significantly higher” than Morocco’s predicted income of $7.2 billion.
Lekjaa says in French, “That doesn’t correspond either to historical facts or future extrapolation; it’s an exercise that goes beyond that.”
African countries have 53 of the 206 expected votes in Wednesday’s ballot of FIFA member federations.
Under investigation in Ghana for alleged corruption, FIFA Council member Kwesi Nyantakyi has resigned from the world soccer body.
Confederation of African Football president Ahmad says Nyantakyi also offered his resignation as first vice president of the continental body.
Ahmad tells more than 50 African football federations that a special election meeting will be held on September 30 in Egypt for them to fill the vacancies.
Candidates will come from the English-speaking group in Confederation of African Football (CAF), the president says.
A television documentary last week showed Nyantakyi taking $65,000 in cash from undercover reporters posing as businessmen to secure favor with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and other government officials.
FIFA’s ethics committee suspended the Ghanaian official for 90 days during its investigation.
Leaders of North American and Moroccan bids to host the 2026 World Cup are casting their plans to FIFA voters.
Both candidates on Wednesday’s vote are spending Monday on a busy tour of meetings with continental football bodies. FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Secretary General Fatma Samoura are also attending.
More than 50 African football federations are hearing from the bidders at a Moscow hotel.
A few federations, including Liberia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, have pledged to support the
joint United States-Canada-Mexico candidacy instead of their CAF ally Morocco.
Voters from North American regional body CONCACAF, Asia, and Oceania also have their regional meetings Monday, ahead of the election Wednesday.
European football body UEFA hosts the candidates Tuesday morning in Moscow.