A $16bn question, but Rothenburg still wary of Morocco 2026 bid

March 23 – Alan Rothenburg, the man widely credited with bringing the 1994 World Cup to the United States and making such a success of it, says it is by no means a foregone conclusion that the tournament will go back to the USA – and its neighbours Mexico and Canada – in 2026.

Underdogs Morocco may have failed four times to host the finals, including in 1988 when they narrowly lost to the US. But with the voting procedure now open to all FIFA members, each carrying the same weight, Morocco hopes it can persuade enough countries outside its bedrock of African support to back its case.

“Before Morocco, [the US-led bid] looked, to take a phrase from another sport, like a slam dunk,” Rothenberg, former president of the US Soccer Federation, told the Bleacher Report. “International geopolitical issues come into play. Some of the things the current (Trump) administration has said or done would cause concern in some parts of the world, and everyone has an equal vote.”

“Morocco is very interesting because they’ve bid several times before and no one can doubt the sincerity they have. So they should not be taken lightly.”

Rothenburg says Morocco may struggle to persuade FIFA that they can complete their infrastructure build at a projected cost of $16 billion. “Does Morocco have the ability to do that? There is past history. In Brazil, there was serious difficulty in getting the infrastructure ready. But you can’t fault the sincerity of their desire.”

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