North American World Cup Bid Gets FIFA Boost

North American World Cup bid
Sunil Gulati President of United States Soccer Federation (C) poses for a picture next to Victor Montagliani CONCACAF President (L) and Decio de Maria President of the Mexican Football Federation (R) after announcing the next soccer 2026 World Cup in North America during a press conference on April 10, 2017 at the One World Trade Center in New York. The United States, Mexico and Canada announced a joint bid to stage the 2026 World Cup on Monday, aiming to become the first three-way co-hosts in the history of FIFA's showpiece tournament. / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

The North American World Cup bid received a favourable review from a FIFA report released on Friday. Football’s governing body scored both the joint bid as well as that of Morocco, concluding that the African nation would be a riskier option.

FIFA will announce the host following a 13 June vote by member federations.

FIFA: North American World Cup Bid ‘Less Risky’ Than Morocco

The final grade which the North American World Cup bid received was a four out of five, while Morocco scored just a 2.7. According to the FIFA report, this is due to risks relating to stadia, accommodation and transportation in the north African nation.

There is also the divisive issue of Morocco’s harsh anti-LGBT laws.

High-Risk Morocco

If Africa is to host its second World Cup, Morocco will have to invest heavily in infrastructure. As the 2026 tournament will include 48 teams for the first time ever, any host nation will need a multitude of modern stadia.

In order to host, Morocco would have to invest some 16 billion USD in infrastructure projects. This includes renovations to all currently-built stadia and construction of new venues.

However, the North American World Cup bid does not include such needs. Canada, Mexico and the United States all have existing venues capable of hosting the tournament.

Chairman of the Moroccan bid, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, also claims that at least 5,500 rooms would need to be built in order to house both the fans and players.

There are, however other issues at play. The Moroccon bid does not address the country’s harsh anti-LGBT laws, which makes certain sexual orientations a crime.

FIFA’s statutes declare that such behaviour is intolerable. In fact, such discrimination is, “strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.”

There is not yet any official word from the Moroccan government as to whether they plan to repeal these laws if awarded the 2026 World Cup. However, with both Russia and Qatar being lambasted for boasting similar laws and being allowed to host the games, the discriminatory legislation may cost Morocco the World Cup.

Trumping the United Bid

Hope is not all lost for Africa’s second World Cup. This is due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial stance on issues such as immigration and his travel ban.

According to the new FIFA report,

“Due to new entry regulations that are currently being proposed in the United States in relation to citizens from certain countries, there are significant risks to discrimination-free entry to the country.”

So, it seems FIFA is between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, Morocco’s anti-LGBT law would put travelling fans at risk. But on the other, fans from certain countries may not gain entrance into the United States.

However, considering the overall scores from FIFA’s inspection, the North American World Cup bid looks to be the favourite. Even with the negative press that Trump’s presidency gives the joint bid, it seems a less risky bet than Morocco.

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