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France to support Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid


At least one European nation is throwing its support behind Morocco’s bid for the 2026 World Cup.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet says France will vote for the African country’s bid over the one presented by the U.S., Mexico and Canada.  All of FIFA’s 211 member nations vote on the host on June 13.

“I don’t see myself not supporting a country that is close to us,” Le Graet said, according to L’Equipe. “Africa has only had one World Cup. That’s not a lot.

“Morocco is ready, even if they don’t have the same means as their fellow contenders. France only has one vote, but perhaps we will give momentum in Europe to choose Morocco.”

Back in February, reports emerged that support for the Moroccan bid was rising. The report added that the bid has garnered much support inAsia and South America, as well as its home continent of Africa.


  1. At some point, you have to wonder how long FIFA will maintain a political statement to Revenue tradeoff with each World Cup. If Morrocco were to get the 26 Cup then we would have, South Africa, Russia, Qatar and Morrocco hosting the Cup in order. While this might satisfy political payback for insults real and imagined, it reduces the money and potential expansion of the game.

    • Oh, I think there’s more than a chance. If they pass technical inspection, I think they beat us in a landslide. We are massively unpopular in the world right now and I was wondering how long it would take the likes of France and Spain to see that Morocco is just a hop across the Med and it would basically be like an extra European World Cup.

      If it gets to a vote, I think we’re toast. The only saving grace is going to be the technical evaluation – and once it says what I think we all know it’s going to say – that Morocco has one stadium over 50K and just 4-5 over 40K and is nowhere near capable of hosting this thing – then I think Infantino will kill the bid on technical grounds before it ever gets to a vote.

      Which it should.

      You would think it would matter to FIFA’s membership that the US bid would generate three times as much revenue and have massively more attendance and viewership, but such concerns have rarely troubled them before.

    I’d love to see them try to pull of a 48-country tournament in Morocco. what a fiasco that would be.


  3. The other thing to consider is if South American nations want to build support for their 2030 bid (vs. England) it behooves them to support the bid in European time zone in 2026 As no way that the World voters put back to back WC’s in the western hemisphere. This could be a landslide vote with Africa, S. America, Asia and some of Europe voting for Morocco. Add in the Trump effect, travel distances in North America and the fact that Morocco was skipped over so many times, including currupt decisions in 2010.. Morocco is a pretty safe bet. Never been but it doesn’t look like the stadium/infrastructure is any further behind than South Africa or Russia were (not shining examples of host nations but FIFA will look at them as successful WCs) and if the modular stadiums from the Qatari legacy plan could make it easier to put together (pun) .. I will be pleasently surprised if the US gets the bid but not counting on it.

  4. Best guess is this is cosmetic because it doesn’t matter anyhow. I think Morocco is going to be DQ’d by FIFA for failure to meet technical requirements. Listen to what’s coming out of Infantino’s office and I’m fairly certain he’ll stick to his guns on this.

    Morocco is already whining about it – but the bottom line is, they just plain DON’T have the stadia or infrastructure they need to host and a Morocco World Cup would generate about a third the revenue (projected $785 million) of one in the USA (projected $2.1 billion, plus an additional $300 million in added TV revenue) or about $1.6 billion dollars worth.

    $1.6 billion is a lot of cash. Makes it kind of a no-brainer for Infantino and FIFA.

    I think the Morocco bid gets struck down on technical grounds…which everybody knows is what should have happened to both the Russian and Qatari bids.

  5. This is France’s version of white guilt. They colonized North Africa, didn’t do right by them. When they withdrew in the 1960’s, they felt bad and allowed Morrocans to come to France, take advantage of their schools and universities. 50 years later, France still feels guilt about what happened in Morroco, Algeria and Tunisia. This vote is just another small concession.

    In conjunction with that, yeah, Morroco is just a 2 hour flight from France and in the same time zone. So why not support a bid that more of your citizens can attend and you can watch games in the evening, rather than at 2am? It’s not like FFF needs more cash that FIFA might divy up between its 210 members.

    • Do you really think France’s uncomplicated reaction to Morocco is complete liberal guilt across all political stripes, religions, people more concerned with the profits than politics…..or vice versa. I can think of types of Moroccans who’d be like, you can keep your money.

      • Is it “Complete liberal guilt”? Of course not. I wouldn’t pretend to capture the nuances of international relations and professional sports in a single blog post. In fact, the second part of my original post pointed out the convenience of traveling 2 hours (instead of 8 hours to the US) and being able to watch the games on TV at a more convenient time.

        But I can tell you that this guilt that many French people feel is real because I witnessed it during the 18 years I lived there and my subsequent visits in recent years. There’s this tension between “we’re sorry we colonized your country and brutalized your people” and “when is enough enough? We’ve been paying penance for several decades now.”

        I have not visited Morocco, but friends who have tell me how beautiful it is. So why not vote for them. And they speak French there, so that’s another plus. I assume Spain will also vote for Morocco because of their history and proximity. And that could lead to a tipping point with many other UEFA voters.

      • TFO: there are books, movies dedicated to how France treats its muslim citizens, there have been terrorist attacks in France by northern Africans. And part of that is probably responding to the Le Pen and secularist streaks in France. To me I’d say being fair it’s like our love hate thing with Mexico or England’s love hate thing with France. There is a strong colonial connection and 1/3 of the people speak French. It is also no longer a colony and a majority Arabic speaking country those few decades later. The suggestion there is an uncomplicated and solely guilt-based relationship with a former colony is laughable.

        I was supposed to do a sports competition there a few years back — had to cancel out last minute due to a travel glitch — and my sense was a lot of French people did the event. Proximity, language. But the idea it’s a bunch of guilt ridden Frenchpeople coming over because they feel like they owe it to Morocco, pffft. It’s more like, if they held the world cup in Mexico, Trump rhetoric, history, and drug violence or not, a bunch of Americans would be where do I sign up for tickets. Right next door, cheap prices. Very few if any would be thinking, I am going here to do my part to fix how the US treats Mexico or Latin America. The francophone advertisers would see it as a ready made audience and an opening for French products. The francophone fans would be like, quick jump over the Med, fun in Morocco, and I can go there and they speak the language. That last little bit would owe to the colonial relationship but might even flatter French superiority and mision civilatrice sentiments as opposed to rectify guilt.

    • While true, what you say, it is also true that french people have an affinity for Morocco the country, its people, its culture. I agree that there is guilt but don’t believe that is a bad thing if it includes empathy – which is what that vote is about, in my opinion. France is empathetic to Morocco. For historical reasons, political reasons, but also social ones.

      • Agree with most of what you said, Concorde. And each country must decide what factors matter most when they vote. Is it strictly the match day experience for the players and the fans? If so, I think the Concacaf bid wins hands down. But if proximity of travel and experience matters more, then maybe you’re willing to take chance on a single country that is lacking a lot of the infrastructure.

      • TFO: “lacks infrastructure” would be by Western standards when they have hosted the club world cup during this decade. I think it goes in phases and in some phases it’s like, we want to go to a modern, Western country with all the latest stuff and hold swank parties. And then there are other phases where it’s like, I don’t care if it’s not Old Trafford, it’s good enough, and all the smaller countries are banding together like we want the host to look like us sometimes. I think the FIFA scandal was trying to hack away at the corruption that in part related to patronage of the small country votes. Bigwigs on the one hand and then the votes of these small countries on the other. Which gave you South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Qatar. I think some Americans thought we cleaned up the swamp and those countries will now rationally vote for big countries with modern stadia like France/USA/Italy/etc. again, since gifts aren’t being waved in their faces. If this vote goes Morocco it suggests that instead, in some UN general assembly sense, the small country bloc is alive and well.

        Personally I think Trump stuck a fork in it. Obama could have sold internationally. Hillary in most places. But if there are bigger modern countries like France on the fence, who could have favored a fellow big dog, and might have an interest in FIFA not going too “UN,” add in Trump and watch them flip the other way. They may go back to big dogs with the right bids but this is the worst possible leadership to sell, even if Trump’s terms can’t possibly last past 2024, and maybe even 2020. Some of it is timing. Two years ago I’d have said people love us and we’re the janitors of FIFA.

      • IV: I guess you’re not actually reading what other posters are saying, just regurgitating the same points. “The suggestion there is an uncomplicated and solely guilt-based relationship with a former colony is laughable.” I stated in two separate posts that there was more to it than “solely guilt-based.” I get that you’re trying to make you’re point, but you should take a breath and read the post you’re about to respond to.

        “there are books, movies dedicated to how France treats its muslim citizens, there have been terrorist attacks in France by northern Africans.” I’m glad you have read some of those books and watched some of those movies. But I lived there for almost two decades, went to French public schools, had friends from Algeria and Morocco. So I’ll stand by my first-hand experience of what I witnessed.

        “I was supposed to do a sports competition there a few years back…” Here we go again with the side reference to your illustrious sports career…

        ” ‘lacks infrastructure’ would be by Western standards when they have hosted the club world cup during this decade. ” Yes, that’s what we are talking about. Comparing what the US-Mexico-Canada joint bid has to offer compared to what Morocco may be able to build in the next 8 years. And are you really saying that successfully hosting the club World Cup, and event with 8 teams and, what a dozen games, is an indication of Morocco’s ability to host 48 teams and 80 games?

        “Personally I think Trump stuck a fork in it. Obama could have sold internationally.” Yeah, because Obama was able to secure the Olympic Games for his hometown at the height of his popularity…? “Some of it is timing. Two years ago I’d have said people love us and we’re the janitors of FIFA.” Your political bias is unfortunately clouding your judgment. We were under attack/threat just as much during the Obama years as we have been the past 15 months.

  6. Morocco is a former colony of France (and owes France a lot of money) But France knows it will be front and center when contracts are awarded for the building and renovation of stadiums, highways, airports and harbors, so yeah,.

    But that’s France, they are the whore of Europe. Platini sold France’s vote to Qatar for a 10Billion dollar in military contracts, and now its 20Billion to Morocco. Like any good whore, their price goes up if they perform well enough.

  7. I’m going to be curious what happens because the Can/Mex regionalizing of the bid never really got going (just 6 sites out of 20+, with further cutdown likely), so it’s basically a US bid, and there may be a FIFA prosecution/Trump backlash, even if in paper terms the bids wouldn’t compare.

    I also think people have short memories that they were just in South Africa. That being said Morocco hosted the club world cup a couple times so they aren’t entirely new to this. Personally it makes more sense to me to hold it in a few specific venues and not make it a Brazil-style circus where a bunch of cities host but you are in a plane flying after every game.

    • Wasn’t “regionalizing” the bid mainly done in effort to prevent a solo Mexican bid that was being considered? Everyone believed this World Cup was a lock to be held in the Americas, and we hedged our bet by allowing Mexico and Canada a nominal place to avoid a rival regional competitor.

      • I forget exactly when we came in, in terms of order, but Canada and Mexico each at one point years ago announced their own intent to bid to host 2026 (individually). I know by some point they were already talking joint US-Mexico. One does wonder if in the sausage making process some agreement was reached for them to join up with ours so as not to undercut each other, but one also wonders if their participation became half hearted for either political reasons or because the really wanted to be a sole host and got talked into something they don’t want. Because it’s hard to reconcile I want to host alone and have enough cities to do it, with there being just 3 cities each of the others left in our bid.

        FWIW Canada recently hosted the women’s version alone, and there surely must be some urge to solo host if but to get in the tournament at all for the first time in decades. And Mexico hosted alone for 86. So it’s not like Korea where it’s like how do you plan on hosting this. And if they see this turning on us, there might be an incentive to downplay their part and set up a future bid for 4-8 years later.

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