By most accounts, the United 2026 bid is far
superior to that presented by Morocco.
Even with the withdrawal of major cities like Chicago and Vancouver, the joint bid committee representing the USA, Canada and Mexico announced a list of 23 host cities that it included in the bid submitted to FIFA on Friday.
Each of the stadiums included in the United Bid's proposal is already built with an average capacity of more than 68,000 seats. The bid also included options for 150 training sites.
Morocco, by contrast, will need to build nine stadiums, refurbish five others and build or renovate 130 training grounds to the tune of $3 billion. That is just part of the $12.6 billion needed to be spent to get the country ready.
But questions about geopolitical issues -- anti-Donald Trump sentiment -- and backlash to U.S. indictments of soccer officials from around the world have raised the possibility of what should be a slam-dunk for the United 2026 bid being a close race or even Morocco victory when the (public) vote of FIFA's 211 members (minus the USA, Canada, Mexico and Morocco, plus Guatemala, which is suspended) is held on June 13.
On a media conference call, United 2026 co-chairmen -- U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro, Canadian Soccer Association president Steven Reed and Mexican soccer federation president Decio de Maria -- tried to downplay those concerns.
“Look, this is not geopolitics,” said Cordeiro. “We’re talking about football and what fundamentally at the end of the day, what’s the best interests of football and our footballing community, and we’ve had no backlash. We’re very focused on the merits of our bid.”
Geopolitics -- if not outright corruption -- doomed the USA's bid for the 2022 World Cup when Qatar, which had close ties to the French government that swayed the European vote, prevailed in 2010.
“We believe that the member associations are going to judge us on the quality of the bids, on the merits of our bid," added Reed, "and that’s it. We’re very confident about what we’re putting forward, and I don’t think that we’re concerned about politics.”
The bid co-chairmen were speaking from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they were attending a meeting of the ASEAN Football Federation. The Asian vote is considered up for grabs and will go a long way toward determining where the USA, Canada and Mexico will pull away or whether Morocco has a chance of an upset.