Political football: 2030 World Cup final hosting kicks off Spain or Morocco contest

October 6 – No sooner had FIFA awarded the bulk of 2030 World Cup hosting rights to Spain, Morocco and Portugal than the first two of them began squabbling over who would host the final.

The bid had started out as a joint venture between Spain and Portugal before expanding to include Morocco earlier this year with Ukraine dropped.

Spain’s Sports Minister Miquel Iceta told a radio station that although “you can’t count your chickens before they hatch,” he expected the final to be held in Spain.

But Fouzi Lekjaa, head of Morocco’s football federation who has seen his country lose out on countless occasions with previous bids, said that the goal was for the final to be in Casablanca.

He hoped to see the country’s efforts “crowned – god willing – with celebrations in Casablanca stadium at a historic final,” he also told a radio station.

In a surprise announcement a year earlier than planned, FIFA this week allocated the 2030 tournament to Morocco, Spain and Portugal with Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay hosting three matches to mark the tournament’s centenary.

The announcement came as a relief to Spain which is still reeling from the scandal over the kissgate scandal at women’s World Cup in August.

“We will demonstrate the strength of our country’s football as world champions, and we will defend the values of equality, solidarity and healthy competition that should accompany sport,” said Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s acting prime minister.

Lekjaa disclosed that Morocco, Spain and Portugal will meet on October 18 in Rabat to discuss the scheduling of matches, with six cities in Morocco due to be venues.

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