Morocco Protests FIFA’s Last-minute Alteration of Scoring System to Favor North American Bid

Morocco expressed its rejection of the last-minute change in FIFA’s scoring system for the 2026 host, which it views as unfair and as an attemptd to favor the joint North American bid.

In a letter to FIFA chief Gianni Infantino, dated March 25, head of Morocco’s football association (FRMF) Faouzi Lekjaa protested the change of the scoring criteria less than 24 hours before Morocco submitted its bid book and 48 hours prior to the deadline making it impossible to align the bid book with the new rules.

“To my great surprise the scoring system was only finally transmitted to us on March 14” – 24 hours before Morocco handed in its dossier and 48 hours before the FIFA-imposed deadline,” says the letter.

The football website, Insideworldfootball has learned that FIFA added previously undisclosed changes to the eligibility criteria in the final hours before the deadline for bid books to be handed over earlier this month.

The letter shows that the criteria are meant to favor the joint US, Canada, Mexico bid to the detriment of Morocco.

The FRMF’s letter also expresses Morocco’s “concerns about the equity and transparency of the bidding procedure.”

Under the scoring system, which was publicly released this week and which FIFA is trumpeting as an important break with its corruption-plagued past, infrastructure, of which half relates to stadiums, accounts for 70% of the panel’s mark. The remaining 30% is based on projected costs and revenues.

In a scoring system of 0 to 5 – where 0 means is ”no requirements met/very weak” and 5 is ”requirements exceeded excellent” – a bid must average a total of 2, or ”minimum requirements met/sufficient,” to be approved ahead of the vote on June 13 in Moscow.

In addition, bids must score at least 2 for individual aspects of stadiums, teams and referee facilities, plus accommodation and transport links. Failure to score 2 from the task force means a bid “has been evaluated as `high risk’ and represents a material failure,” according to FIFA, whereupon, ”FIFA shall terminate this Bidding Registration.”

These criteria are hard to meet for Morocco. Among the new demands is a guarantee that host cities must have a population of at least 250,000; minimum airport capacity of 60 million passengers a year; increased size of fan fests; and a maximum 90-minute distance between airport and host city.

“In effect, the scoring system adds several new technical criteria which were not part of the original regulations,” writes Lekjaa. “These elements were never conveyed to the FRMF (Moroccan FA) during the preparation of the bid book.”

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