During the 68th FIFA Congress on Wednesday, the joint bid of the United States, Canada and Mexico won the right to host the 2026 World Cup after receiving 134 votes against 65 votes for Morocco.
Apart from the fact that it was its fifth lost bid campaign in the past 30 years, Moroccans were upset to find out that several of their country’s close allies in the Arab world voted against their bid. The Moroccan Youth and Sports Minister Rachid Talbi Alami deemed in press statement on Thursday the move by the concerned Arab countries as a “treason.”
On social media, Moroccans expressed dissatisfaction about voting of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon for the joint bid.”Stab from Behind” and “treason” were the most used words by Moroccans to express their frustration at the Arab countries voting against Morocco 2026 bid.Most of the outrage was directed toward Saudi Arabia, which is believed to orchestrate the vote against Morocco. According to the Moroccan media, the Gulf country, deemed one of Morocco’s closest political allies, did not only give its vote to the joint bid, it went further to organize a campaign among Asian football associations, many of them are Muslim or Arab countries.
Moroccan media said politics and geostrategic calculations are main factors behind the voting of some Arab countries against Morocco. In this respect, they pointed out Morocco’s neutral stance regarding the conflict between Qatar and other Gulf countries, Qatar’s clear and early support for Morocco’s bid, the stronger alignment of the concerned countries with the U.S. administration and the U.S. President Donald Trump’s intimidating tweets. Trump has previously warned that he will cut aid for countries that may vote against the joint North American bid.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI talked late on Wednesday by phone with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. A statement by the king’s office commended Qatar’s vote for Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup, adding that Sheikh Tamim informed the king of “Qatar’s full support for Morocco if the kingdom bids for the hosting rights of the 2030 World Cup.”Morocco, which received huge support and votes from African countries, was trying to become the second African nation to host the soccer tournament. Before its 2026 bid, Morocco submitted bids to host the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 editions of the World Cup.