Saudi Arabia has lobbied for the North American bid bringing together Canada, Mexico and the US pushing six other Arab nations to vote against Morocco which lost by 65 votes to 134.
The response of Morocco was expressed at the highest level. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim held a phone conversation during which Qatar expressed support for Morocco’s 2030 bid.
Actually, the King has given orders to prepare a bid for the 2030 World Cup while the Moroccan government said it will materialize the projects it promised to carry out under the 2026 bid.
Morocco has also shunned participation at a conference of communication ministers of the countries taking part in the Saudi-led coalition. Morocco’s Communication Minister Mohamed Laarej said in a statement that he will not attend the event due to “time conflict”.
Spokesperson Mustapha Khalfi expressed disappointment at the vote of seven Arab states in favor of the US.
Saudi Arabia has infuriated Moroccans because of the aggressive attitude of its sports chief Turki al-Sheikh who said on Twitter that his country will back the North American bid because of Morocco’s friendly ties with Qatar.
The vote was tarred by the intermingling of politics with sports after US President Donald Trump threatened to slash aid to countries that vote against the US.
Two countries so far reported technical malfunctions saying they voted for Morocco while FIFA counted their votes in favor of the joint North American bid.