Football: Will Morocco Join Spain-Portugal’s 2030 World Cup Bid ?
Morocco’s historic performance in FIFA World Cup 2022 has lifted the country’s global football status and enhanced its chances of joining the bid of Spain and Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup finals.
Morocco’s Atlas Lions gained worldwide praise and respect in Qatar’s World cup tournament after eliminating Spain and then Portugal in knockout games to be the first African and Arab team to advance to a World Cup semifinals.
According to press reports, the Spanish and Portuguese Football Associations are now considering the replacement of Ukraine by the North African Kingdom in their joint bidding, building on Morocco’s success.
The ongoing war in Ukraine and the destruction of this country’s infrastructures (roads, airports, hotels, hospitals, stadiums…) have made it the weakest link that may affect the odds of bidders who need strong competitors.
Furthermore, the head of Ukrainian Football Federation was arrested in November over fraud and money-laundering allegations.
Morocco had announced its bid for the 2030 World Cup in July 2018, after previous unsuccessful attempts to host the tournament. If successful in 2030, it would be the first country to host World Cup matches in North Africa.
The proximity between Spain and Morocco makes the partnership more practical as only eight miles separates the two countries at the nearest point. There are 1,000 miles between Ukraine and Spain while Portugal is even further.
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation is a member of CAF (Confederation of African Football) and a joint European-African bid is seen as a potential vote winner.
A Morocco-Spain- Portugal bid is likely to face competition from two more group bids: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece, as well as a joint South American proposal involving Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile.
The idea that Morocco could co-host the World Cup with its near-European neighbours (Spain & Portugal) seemed far fetched when it was floated four years ago. But, now it grabbed all the attention after Qatar’s World Cup finals during which the Atlas Lions ranked fourth on the global football stage, redefining the limits of what’s possible.
The 2026 World Cup finals, featuring 48 teams instead of the 32 in Qatar, will be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.