Johannesburg - The guessing game will be over on May 29 as far as the next important step in the 2026 World Cup bid battle is concerned.
That is the day, at least according to Morocco bid organisers – though Fifa would not confirm this – when the evaluation task force delivers its verdict on the proposals from the north Africans and their co-host rival the US with subsidiaries Canada and Mexico.
The Moroccans set up expectations with a Twitter statement: “The Task Force charged by @Fifacom to evaluate both the North American and Moroccan 2026 @FifaWorldCup Bids will make its verdict on the eligibility of both files to progress to Fifa Congress on 29 May.”
Morocco has complained about a perceived Fifa bias towards their rival. The aim has been to embarrass the five-man evaluation task force into clearing the bid for the decisive vote in congress in Moscow on June 13.
The stark contrast between the bidders was set out by their presentations last week to the annual congress of international sports journalists’ association AIPS in Brussels.
The US stated its commercial credentials by projecting that its bid would bring in a record $11 billion (R140 billion) profit to Fifa’s coffers, while Morocco promoted a contrasting concept of a need for the soccer body be seen to be encouraging emerging countries.
Fifa rebuilt the bidding process after the scandals during the old executive committee’s term.
Under the new system, congress should vote on bids analysed by the task force and approved by the Fifa Council.
However, the Moroccans, supported by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), have complained that Fifa appeared to have been changing the rules along the way in an attempt to exclude its bid from consideration.
Calls for Morocco to be approved by the task force have been supported by German DFB president Reinhard Grindel, a European delegate to the Fifa Council.
Last month, Grindel said: “If there are only two [candidates], then congress must have the chance to vote.
“We don’t need any rumours in such a process. I think the task force must give a very clear report and must give all the [voters] a clear statement which bid is perhaps better.
“Otherwise, each federation should have to explain why they are voting for a bidder who is not, in the eyes of the experts, able to host such a World Cup.”
Meanwhile, Morocco was yesterday scheduled to present its bid to the Council of Southern African Football Associations in Johannesburg, which has 14 member associations.
This article appeared in the AIPS Newsletter.