Morocco’s rivals across the Atlantic, meanwhile, are months ahead, at least as far as optics are concerned: Their 14-member multinational bid committee and four-person executive team has already trimmed an early list of 41 potential host cities. The three countries long ago determined the number of matches each country will host. That extensive planning and FIFA’s plan to expand the field to 48 teams have the North Americans widely considered as the favorites to secure the event when FIFA gathers to pick the 2026 host on June 13.
Moroccan soccer officials are privately playing down doubts about their bid. They insist they have the resources to host the event. Now that the country’s ruler, King Mohammed VI, has named Moulay Hafid Elalamy, the country’s industry minister, as chairman of the bid, they say the effort soon will have greater visibility.
So far, though, little about the plans has been revealed publicly. The country has failed to use the occasion of the 16-nation African Nations Championship, the last international tournament before FIFA makes its decision, to publicize its World Cup campaign. While airports, buses, trams and sides of buildings have been festooned with branding for the soccer championship that started Saturday in Casablanca, there is nothing to denote Morocco’s desire to bring the World Cup to Africa for only the second time.
A spokesman for the Moroccan soccer federation said no one was available to speak because a communications strategy is still being worked out. Morocco recently hired London-based Vero Communications to help craft its message; Vero helped deliver the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and the 2024 Olympics to…