The team behind Morocco’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup has vowed to press ahead with plans to build new stadia in the country despite the disappointment of missing out on the national team football tournament.

Yesterday (Thursday), Morocco was defeated by a joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico in its quest to host FIFA’s showpiece event. Morocco picked up 65 votes to United 2026’s 134 during the electronic ballot held in the Russian capital of Moscow.

Nine of the 14 stadia that Morocco had proposed would have been built from scratch, with the remaining five to be renovated. Morocco had said it would need to spend some $3bn on stadia should it be successful in its bid.

The five existing stadia that Morocco proposed were in Marrakech (95,565 capacity), Agadir (46,048), Fez (46,092), Rabat (46,500) and Tangier (65,000). A 93,000-seat National Stadium in Casablanca would have been one of three new venues. Further facilities would have been built in Oujda and Tetouan, with plans having been put forward for six ‘legacy modular stadiums’ in Casablanca, Marrakech, El Jadida, Meknes, Nador and Ouarzazate.

The bid team is keen to press ahead with the plans to build the stadia in spite of yesterday’s result.

Moulay Hafid Elalamy, chairman of the bid committee, said: “Morocco is proud to have led a campaign that was committed, ethical and totally in keeping to the rules imposed by FIFA. Through this bid, Morocco has demonstrated its ability to organise the FIFA World Cup, which in 2026 for the first time will see the participation of 48 teams, meeting the new demanding specifications of FIFA.

“Under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty The King, the Kingdom of Morocco is determined to continue on its current trajectory. The projects that we have presented in the Bid Book will be realised. We managed this bid with a sporting spirit and we will continue our path in the same vein.”

Image: Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil