Morocco joins Iberian 2030 World Cup bid

Featured image credit: Daniel/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has announced that his country has joined Spain and Portugal’s joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

Morocco, a serial bidder for recent editions of the national team football tournament, had previously been linked with an approach for 2030. King Mohammed made the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) in a message delivered as he was named winner of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) 2022 Award of Excellence in Kigali, where FIFA is holding its annual congress.

King Mohammed’s message, read by the Moroccan Minister of Sports Chakib Benmoussa, said: “I announce to this gathering that the Kingdom of Morocco has decided, together with Spain and Portugal, to submit a joint candidacy to organise the 2030 World Cup.

“This joint candidacy, which is unprecedented in the history of football, will bear the title of linking Africa and Europe, between the north and south of the Mediterranean, and between the African continent, the Arab world and the Euro-Mediterranean space. 

“It will also embody the highest meanings of convergence around the best of both sides, and bear witness to the concerted efforts of genius, creativity, and the integration of experiences and capabilities.”

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) are yet to publicly comment on the matter. In October, it was announced that Ukraine would be incorporated into the bid. The RFEF, FPF and Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) came together to announce the news at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

The RFEF in July revealed a shortlist of 15 Spanish venues that are seeking to stage matches during the 2030 World Cup. At the time it was stated that 11 venues in Spain will ultimately be used if the joint bid is successful. A further three stadiums will be used in Portugal.

Morocco’s latest ambitions come on the back of a 2022 World Cup campaign in which it became the first African team to reach the semi-finals. Africa has hosted the World Cup on only one occasion, South Africa’s tournament in 2010, and Morocco has previously bid for the 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2026 events.

The 2026 World Cup will be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada after the United 2026 bid saw off competition from Morocco, receiving 134 votes to the African nation’s 65. The announcement was made during the FIFA Congress meeting in Moscow, Russia, ahead of the start of the 2018 World Cup.

A South American effort is currently the only other confirmed bid for the 2030 World Cup. Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay are seeking to stage the tournament, which will mark the centenary of the first of the first World Cup, held in Uruguay in 1930.

A joint bid between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece has also been strongly touted.