Morocco joins Spain, Portugal in 2030 World Cup bid

Morocco stunned the world at the tournament in Qatar last year when it became the first Arab and African side to reach the semifinals [Sorin Furcoi-Al Jazeera]

Morocco will join the proposal to host the 2030 World Cup alongside Spain and Portugal.

The news came from a statement signed by King Mohammed VI and read at a meeting of the Confederation of African Football on Tuesday. It makes it even less likely that Ukraine will be part of the bid.

“The Kingdom of Morocco has decided, together with Spain and Portugal, to present a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup,” the statement said.

“This joint bid, which is unprecedented in football history, will bring together Africa and Europe, the northern and southern Mediterranean, and the African, Arab and Euro-Mediterranean worlds. It will also bring out the best in all of us – in effect, a combination of genius, creativity, experience, and means.”

Morocco said it would take part in the 2030 bid more than four years ago, right after losing the vote for the 2026 tournament. It had been talking with the Iberian countries for a while, but they had never made it official that they were part of the bid.

Ukraine, which is unlikely to continue in the bid, joined Spain and Portugal in their long-standing European candidature last October.

A spokesman for the Spanish football federation told the AFP news agency that they would meet their counterparts from Portugal and Morocco in Kigali on Wednesday. Still, he didn’t say anything about Ukraine.

“The presidents will announce any news regarding the candidature for the 2030 World Cup in Kigali,” the spokesman added.

Last year at the tournament in Qatar, Morocco shocked the world by becoming the first Arab or African team to make it to the semifinals, where they lost to France. In the end, Morocco came in fourth, behind Croatia.

Morocco hosted the FIFA Club World Cup in February of this year.

The country hosting the 2030 World Cup will likely be chosen in September 2024. For a long time, the co-hosting bids from South America and Europe have been the clear frontrunners.

Uruguay, which hosted the first World Cup in 1930, is in a bid with Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay to host the 100th World Cup.

The World Cup has previously had joint hosts.

In 2002, the race was between Japan and South Korea. The tournament will be held in the US, Mexico, and Canada in 2026.

FIFA announced on Tuesday that the 2026 World Cup would have 104 games instead of the 64 games that were played in Qatar last year. This means that the number of teams will go from 32 to 48.

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