Russia, Qatar... Morocco? African country submits 2026 World Cup hosting bid

Morocco is bidding for the 2026 World Cup

Morocco's national team has enjoyed modest success in recent years

Friday, August 11, 2017

Morocco is bidding to become the first North African country to host the World Cup after submitting its bid for the 2026 tournament.

The Moroccan football federation launched its bid to Fifa this morning (Friday August 11). If successful, the North African state will follow Russia and Qatar in hosting the blue-riband soccer event. 

The World Cup has only previously been staged in one African country - South Africa, which hosted the event in 2010.

Under the controversial leadership of Sepp Blatter, Fifa strove to rotate the tournament between continents, but Blatter's regime unravelled in disgrace following the hugely controversial award of the 2018 World Cup to Qatar, and the rotation process has been scrapped under pressure from Europe and North America.

Morocco's chances of winning the 2026 hosting rights may be boosted by its huge tourism industry and its reputation as a relatively liberal Islamic country. Furthermore its national team has regularly appeared at the World Cup, and it even reached the knockout stage in 1986.

However the country's human rights record is relatively mixed, and its treatment of LGBT treatment is particularly controversial, with widespread reports of gay people being jailed - a subject which prompted the release of a viral video last year.