Wednesday Jun 13, 2018. 09:00
The North American bid for the hosting rights of the 2026 World Cup is expected to edge Morocco when the vote is held at today’s FIFA Congress in Moscow.
The Congress gets underway at 9am Moscow, but the vote for the 2026 tournament is only expected to take place later in the day.
Only two bids are up for the hosting rights: a join effort from USA, Mexico and Canada, and one from North African nation Morocco, who are trying for a fifth time to bring the global tournament to their soil.
The 2026 World Cup poses unique challenges for whichever bid wins, as it is set to be the first of an expanded format in which 48 teams (as opposed to the current number of 32) take part in the finals.
Today’s voting will see 206 of the 211 FIFA associates take part in the vote (the four associations involved in the bids are not allowed to vote, while Kosovo will reportedly not take part) and a simple majority is needed for victory.
The North American bid has the firm public support of 27 associations, with another 19 possible backers. Morocco has the commitment of 20 nations, with a further 8 potential backers. The other 133 remain undecided.
The FIFA inspections for both bids falls in favour of the North American effort, which scored better than the “high risk” Moroccan bid, with the world governing body also mindful of how the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was not without its problems.
The USA-Mexico-Canada bid has also promised a record $11 billion profit for FIFA, and a written pledge from the US government to grant travel visas to all visitors regardless of race or religion.