By Andrew Warshaw
May 10 – The new voting process to select the 2026 World Cup hosts has led to yet more claims of unfair tactics by underdogs Morocco who have requested FIFA exclude four United States-governed territories from the ballot in June.
Unlike in the past when host nations were decided by FIFA’s elitist but now defunct executive committee, for the first time FIFA’s member federations will decide the winner on a one-member, one-vote basis, with majority support needed to land the biggest prize in world football.
Neither Morocco nor the joint bidders from the United States, Canada and Mexico are allowed to vote but Morocco believes that should also extend to American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands because of a conflict of interest.
Morocco has faced one issue after another since entering the fray last summer, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino said to be in favour of the heavyweight North American bid.
It is understood FIFA has not yet responded to the Moroccan request to prevent the four afore-mentioned federations from voting while the underdogs also have another serious concern on their hands.
The next stage in the process is the all-important publication of the FIFA evaluation panel’s recommendations which is slated for May 29 and will go a long way to determining whether Morocco can even make the ballot paper in Moscow.
These findings will then be assessed by the FIFA Council on June 10 but Morocco wants three Council members – American Samoan Sandra Fruean, former US Soccer federation chief Sunil Gulati and Canadian supremo and joint United 2026 co-chair Victor Montagliani -to be excluded from such discussions to avoid any obvious bias or influence.
So tetchy is the bid process becoming that the Moroccans also claim they were given short shrift by United 2026 delegates at a recent presentation event in Brussels, saying their bid was not even listened to by their rivals.
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