Feds announce they’ll back 2026 World Cup proposal
MONTERREY — Canada’s feds announced Tuesday they’re backing the United 2026 World Cup proposal in advance of the U.S., Mexico and Canada submitting their tribid Friday in an effort to coax the FIFA Congress away from selecting Morocco.
The North Africans — four-time World Cup bid losers — are making a late charge to bring the world’s biggest sporting event back to Africa for the second time in 16 years.
There are growing fears that Morocco, a country of just 35 million, is a threat to play spoiler when FIFA members vote to award the 2026 tournament a day before this summer’s World Cup kicks off in Moscow.
As Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan revealed the Canadian government’s support Tuesday morning at Toronto’s BMO Field, the Moroccans were preparing to submit a proposal that could persuade FIFA members to turn away from the once-favoured United Bid.
Some are beginning to wonder if disgraced FIFA boss Sepp Blatter’s recent online emergence is an indication of yet another North American World Cup snub.
“Co-Hosting rejected by FIFA after 2002 (also applied in 2010 and 2018). And now: Morocco would be the logical host! And it is time for Africa again!” Blatter tweeted.
Yes, Blatter’s endorsement means about as much as a soft drink lobbyist endorsing weight loss. However, his words sparked a host of what-ifs and conspiracy theories this month, with some wondering if Morocco might actually have an edge in the process.
While the United Bid is expected to receive the support of CONCACAF (North-Central America and the Caribbean) and CONMEBOL (South America), their combined 42 votes are less than the 53 votes Morocco is sure to receive from CAF (Confederation of African Football) members. That leaves UEFA (Europe), AFC (Asia) and OFC (Oceania) to get the eventual winner’s tally up beyond the needed 104 votes.
UEFA federations could be tempted to back Morocco’s bid on the grounds that match times will be ideal for viewers across Europe, the region that also brings in a majority of TV revenue for soccer’s governing body. Furthermore, Morocco is pitching a much more compact tournament, featuring venues within driving distance compared to the vast distance between, say, Edmonton and Monterrey — potential host cities two boarders apart, connected by a massive fivehour flight.
Not that FIFA has considered distance between stadiums for previous . Take it from someone who ventured into the Brazilian Amazon during the 2014 World Cup. Although there are benefits to matches being hosted in close proximity, there’s something special about experiencing a diverse set of host cities. It’s part of the World Cup experience – and something few complained about four years ago.
Those raising concerns over Moroccan infrastructure and stadium issues should have ventured down to Monterrey for Tuesday night’ s Champions League quarterfinal. Conditions here are satisfactory, but well below the standards set in previous World Cups held in Germany, France, South Korea and Japan.
As for stadiums, Morocco’s promise to build a number of new venues might seem more appealing than Canada potentially hosting matches at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium or even BMO Field, a lovely MLS venue that’s nowhere near World Cup quality.
The counter-argument, of course, is the United States has enough world class venues to host the men’s and women’ s World Cup sat the same time. Additionally, Vancouver’s BC Place is a venue worthy of hosting a major competition.
Beyond logistics and venues and revenue, the conversation surrounding this summer’s vote has turned political.
Duncan cited Canada’s unique diversity as a selling point during her presentation — which is great. But kumbaya talk is usually interrupted with a reminder that U.S. President Donald Trump remains a polarizing figure around the globe.