Banned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is putting his support behind Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
Blatter said on Twitter that it is time for Africa to host again and that Morocco is a logical choice.
— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) February 22, 2018
The only tournament staged in Africa so far were the 2010 finals in South Africa, something Blatter is immensely proud of.
Morocco is bidding for the fifth time to host the World Cup, having also tried for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 tournaments.
The man leading Morocco’s effort, bid chief executive Hicham El Amrani, says the country has seen tremendous development in infrastructure since its last bid in 2010. He told The Independent he feels Morocco’s successful hosting of the Club World Cup in 2013 and the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) this year prove the country is ready to handle football’s biggest event.
“CHAN proves how good Morocco can be as a host and organiser,” El Amrani said. “We are finalising the bid book, which will be submitted to FIFA in mid-March. We will be using some of the infrastructure being used for CHAN.”
Morocco’s only competition for the event is a joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The decision on who will host the 2026 World Cup — which will expand to 48 teams — will be made in June just before the start of this year’s tournament in Moscow. Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022. For the first time, all 211 FIFA member nations will vote. In past years, only a small group of high-ranking FIFA officials were allowed to make the decision. Many FIFA critics say it was that atmosphere which created conditions ripe for bribery and indirectly led to Sepp Blatter’s downfall.
Blatter quit his post in 2015 and was later banned for six years for ethics violations by FIFA’s ethics committee. He has denied any wrongdoing, but he remains under investigation by Swiss authorities.