Posted: 6/13/2018
Title: UNITED BID WINS WORLD CUP 2026 VOTE

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         As expected the UNIITED BID FOR FIFA WORLD CUP 2026 easily won the contest with MOROCCO 2026, and the North African country failed for the fifth time.  With the Cup expanded to 48 teams it really wasn't in with a chance of succeeding. 

        I was at a meeting in Rabat, the capital, on 14th November 1981 to discuss their chances of a their first bid, with the tournament expanded to 24 teams and even then their infrastructure was poor. They later hosted the African Cup of Nations, but after the home side bowed out early the attendances, income and interest plummeted. I went to a qualifier in nearby Kinitra on the 15th November  where Cameroon surprised the home side, coached by World Cup record goalscorer (just Fontaine,France in 1958 in Sweden). I sat on the grass behind the Moroccan goal and got both goals from the Cameroons in the surprise 2--0 victory, (Roger Milla 15 min pk, and Tokoto 23 mins). I caught a lift back to Rabat with the Moroccan press and had both my photos published the next day in the Arabic language paper.( Not sure if they credited me. I was off to Munich via Madrid for Oktoberfest the next day ! ).

        Common sense finally prevailed after the two dodgy winning bids of Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022. This time all FIFA countries had one vote and it was not a secret vote. USA, Mexico and Canada, plus Morocco, were not allowed to vote. Ghana, whose federation was recently dismantled, was not present. After a complaint from the Moroccans, Guam, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico abstained since they have US citizenship.

       It really didn't matter The 23rd FIFA World Cup UNITED BID won easily with 134 out of 200 votes and only 65 for Morocco. The evaluation team had given 402 points for United and 275 for Morocco, sighting stadium, accommodation and transport problems. A $11 billion profit versus less than half that swung the vote by the many cash starved members.

       You might remember that the very successful 1994 event, solely in USA, had the highest average and total attendence EVER.  No new stadiums need to be built in the three host countries of CONCACAF. 10 stadiums in USA, and three each in Canada, Edmonten, Totonto and Montreal and three in Mexico, Monterrey, Guadaljara and Mexico City, whose Estadio Azteca has hosted two finals in 1970 and 1986.

       The final is scheduled for the 84,953 MetLife Stadium in NYC, home to the NFL Giants and Jets, with the semi-final at DFW AT & T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys and the Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta host to both American football and MLS soccer clubs. Vancouver, Chicago and Minneapolis dropped out of the running. All the sponsored named stadiums will not be allowed to use those names.

         I love visiting Morocco, but not in the hot summer months, Marrakesh is one of my three favourite cities to visit anywhere, , but despite a new high speed limited rail network almost ready to start up transport is a problem, Accommodation in other cities apart from maybe Casablanca, Tangier and Agadir would not be sufficient for a 48 team tournament. 16 stadiums would be needed, with 9 completely new ones needed to be built from scratch and the 5 present ones needing extensive renovations.

      NO CONTEST !!   NOW WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE CORRUPTION THAT HELPED QATAR GET THE 2022 BID.. AND RELOCATE IT !!!

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