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CAF News:CAF president throws his weight behind Moroccan bid for 2026 World Cup

Newly-elected Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Ahmad has given his backing to a mooted Moroccan bid for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, stating the country is a “stronghold” of the world game.

Ahmad made the comments during a visit to Morocco this week. The Madagascan official, who goes by one name, was this month elected as the new president of CAF, ending Issa Hayatou’s long-held grip on power.

The 70-year-old Hayatou had served as CAF president since 1988 but secured only 20 votes to Ahmad’s 34 in an election in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ahmad received strong support in his campaign from the Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) and has given his support to proposals from the country to return the World Cup to Africa for the first time since the continent’s first staging of the tournament in South Africa in 2010.

Earlier this month, Spanish newspaper AS said King Mohamed VI of Morocco asked Spanish counterpart King Felipe VI to consider a joint bid including Spain and Portugal, adding the project has the backing of Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

Spain and Portugal made a failed joint bid for the 2022 World Cup, while Morocco has previously attempted to land the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 tournaments. However, in an interview given to Moroccan website Le360, Ahmad suggested that Morocco could enter a solo bid for the 2026 event.

“Morocco is a stronghold of African and world football,” Ahmad said. “This country lives and breathes football deep within itself. It is also equipped with beautiful infrastructure and is therefore able to organise the 2026 World Cup alone. As CAF president, I will back this project with great enthusiasm.”

World football’s governing body is currently formulating a bidding strategy for the 2026 World Cup and Infantino has previously said Fifa would encourage joint bids for the expanded tournament, which will feature 48 teams as opposed to 32. Fifa has traditionally shied away from a co-hosting model for its showpiece event, with the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea the only event to employ such a system.

However, the expanded tournament – which will still run for 32 days – is likely to cause logistical problems for a single host country and Infantino said Fifa would consider a bid comprising “two, three, four countries who can jointly present a project with three, four, five stadiums each”.

source: sportbusiness.com

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