The world football body, FIFA has stated on Monday, while publishing the official details of bids from Morocco and a joint one from the United States, Mexico and Canada, that the host for 2026 World Cup would be made known to all on June 13 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on the eve of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The bidding process that awarded the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively came under intense scrutiny, causing widespread upheaval at FIFA.
Football’s world governing body has changed its approach to selecting World Cup hosts and rejects claims from the African Football Confederation (CAF) that the technical evaluation of bids is loaded in favour of richer nations.
“I challenge anyone to point out an organisation that conducts a bidding process as fair, objective and transparent as the one that FIFA is carrying out for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Monday.
Morocco’s bid lists 12 stadiums including a 93,000-capacity venue in Casablanca.
The United States-Canada-Mexico bid will select up to 16 host cities from “23 existing world-class stadiums, 150 existing elite training facilities, and our modern and interconnected transportation network”.
FIFA’s technical evaluation committee led by Swiss lawyer Marco Villiger and former AC Milan and Croatia star Zvonimir Boban is due to evaluate the facilities and infrastructure of the two candidates in April.
Moroccan media have speculated that the evaluation process could effectively put Morocco’s bid out of contention before the decision comes down to a vote, an assertion Infantino has described as “unfounded”.
A source close to CAF complained that the evaluation process was unfair.
“The excessive margin left to this evaluation commission whose conclusions are not even subject to appeal, is a clear denial of justice and a violation of the principle of dual jurisdiction,” the source said. (AFP)