United Bid Selected to Host the 2026 FIFA World Cup

For Morocco, there was only disappointment after previously unsuccessful bids in 1994 - when the North African nation also lost to the USA - in 1998, 2006 and 2010.

United States of America hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1994, while Mexico hosted in 1970 and 1986.

Said Belkhayat, a four-time member of Morocco's World Cup bid committee, told AFP: "Like all Moroccans, I am sad and disappointed".

An estimated 5.8 million fans are expected to attend the matches with projected record profits for FIFA of $11 billion, funds that will be shared with the 211 FIFA member federations to help develop and expand the sport across the world. So in eight years, teams from around the globe will face off in matches played throughout the US, which will host 60 of them, and Canada and Mexico, which will host 10 matches apiece.

Instead of three automatic places in the tournament, six will be given by that time.

Canada staged the Women's World Cup in 2015.

The FIFA Congress held its annual meeting the day before the start of the World Cup to vote on whether the US -led bid or the Morocco bid will get to host the soccer tournament.

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The 1994 World Cup, staged by the USA, had the highest average attendance in the tournament's history, while Mexico was the first nation to host the event twice.

Its new president, Gianni Infantino, who was believed to favour the United States bid, told congress that Federation Internationale de Football Association was "clinically dead" when he took over in 2016.

The 2026 World Cup will be the first tournament played in the expanded 48-team format, up from the current 32 countries.

Morocco had hoped to become the second country in Africa to host football's biggest competition, after South Africa in 2010. Both bids were of a very high quality and we welcome the fact that the bidding process was both open and transparent.

The US-led bid had been coasting to victory but the intervention of Donald Trump, who made veiled threats against countries who voted for Morocco, spiced up the contest. The North American bid won 134 to 65, according to ESPN FC.

She was cleared of any wrongdoing and dismissed the claims as "laughable" and "unfortunate".

  • Regina Holmes