The race between the United 2026 bid of
the USA, Canada and Mexico and Morocco for the World Cup 2026 hosting rights will go the distance.
On Friday, FIFA's task force released its report on the two bids.
With speculation rampant that its bid would be disqualified for failing to pass minimum scores, Morocco got the good news that it passed.
The bad news: Marocco 2026 trailed United 2026 by a score of 4.0 to 2.7 in a complicated rubric FIFA used to assess infrastructure and commercial areas of the bids.
Overall score: 4.0/2.7
Team facilities 3.7/ 2.9
Fan Festival locations 3.6/3.2
Organizing costs 2.0/3.0
Media and marketing 4.9/4.6
Ticketing and hospitality 5.0/2.4
The task force evaluated the two bids for risk in 20 categories. Morocco's had three high-risk areas -- stadiums, accommodations and accommodation and transport -- 10 medium-risk areas and just three low-risk areas.
"The amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated," the FIFA report stated. "While this is covered in the report in regard to many of the bid’s individual components, the Bid Evaluation Task Force considers it its duty to emphasize the significant overall risk, on a compounded basis, of a bid that has so many facilities (from stadiums and training sites to major transport infrastructure and accommodation projects) that would need to be built or completely renovated."
Nine of the 14 proposed Moroccan stadiums still to be built or completed.
United 2026 beat out Morocco in 11 categories and was evaluated as having 17 low-risk areas. Of the three medium-risk areas, United 2026 trailed Morocco only in terms of legal-government support. And that's because it is proposed a 16-city tournament across three countries.
"The Morocco 2026 bid and United 2026 bid represent two almost opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the nature of their bids," the report added.
For all the detail in the report, it still remains to be seen how much weight the 207 FIFA members will give the report. In 2010, FIFA's task force rated components of the Russia and Qatar bids as high risk, and they won the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights, respectively, in a vote of the FIFA executive committee in Zurich.
And quite handily, it should be added.