Morocco joins North America in bid for 2026 World Cup

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August 12, 2017
AP Congo's Junior Kalonji (left) is challenged by Morocco's Ghanem Saiss (right) during their African Cup of Nations Group C at the Stade de Oyem in Oyem, Gabon. Congo won 1-0.

North America has a late challenge from North Africa in the contest to host the 2026 World Cup.

Morocco will bid for the tournament, its football federation said yesterday, with the announcement coming on FIFA's deadline day.

Morocco's last-minute move means a joint North American bid between the United States, Canada and Mexico will not be the only one for 2026.

Morocco had formally launched its bid and sent relevant documents to FIFA, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation said in a brief two-sentence statement.

It's the North African kingdom's fifth attempt at hosting the World Cup.

The United States, Canada and Mexico launched their joint bid in April and had hoped to be awarded the World Cup unchallenged, with no other bids seemingly on the horizon. FIFA decided to keep the contest open, and Morocco said it had made the deadline just.

The 2026 World Cup is only open to bids from the Americas, Africa and Oceania, with Europe and Asia ineligible because those continents will host the next two World Cups in Russia in 2018 and in Qatar in 2022.

The US-Canada-Mexico and Morocco bids appeared to be the only two to meet yesterday's deadline, and the 2026 host could be decided as early as June next year in Moscow under a fast-tracked process approved by FIFA. Although, if FIFA is not satisfied with the bids, the process could be reopened to other bidders ahead of a final decision in 2020.

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