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Spain offers Morocco joint bid with Portugal for 2030 FIFA World Cup

PM Pedro Sánchez made the offer on a state visit to Rabat, where authorities were reportedly sympathetic to the plan

Pedro Sánchez arriving in Rabat on a state visit.
Pedro Sánchez arriving in Rabat on a state visit. EFE

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Monday offered Morocco the possibility of making a joint bid with Spain and Portugal to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

Sources in the Spanish executive said that Sánchez made the suggestion while on a state visit to Rabat, where he met with King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Saadeddine Al Othmani. The initiative was reportedly well received by Moroccan authorities.

If the joint Spanish-Portuguese-Moroccan bid for 2030 prospers, it will face other rival partnerships

The same sources said that if the joint candidacy for the soccer championship prospers, it will have a good chance of winning the bid, since Spain and Portugal could attract favorable votes from many European and Latin American countries, while Morocco could get backing from African and Arab nations.

Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), met with PM Sánchez on September 13 in the company of FIFA president Gianni Infantino. At the meeting, Rubiales asked the Spanish leader for help bidding for either the 2028 UEFA European Championship or for the 2030 World Cup.

At that time, the RFEF was only contemplating a joint bid with Portugal, a partnership that had already been tested for the 2018 World Cup, which ultimately went to Russia.

In June of this year, Morocco unsuccessfully bid for the 2026 World Cup, which will finally take place in the US, Mexico and Canada. Its candidacy documents presented Morocco as a country “at a global crossroads, a special place where East meets West and Europe meets Africa, just 14 kilometers from the Spanish coast.”

PM Sánchez with Gianni Infantino and Luis Rubiales in September.
PM Sánchez with Gianni Infantino and Luis Rubiales in September. AFP

The failed bid also said that if Morocco were chosen, it would be “a FIFA World Cup for all of Africa, a catalyst for the pride, progress and cohesion of an entire continent.” The report listed existing facilities and plans for new ones, including “the highly anticipated Grand Stade of Casablanca, with seating for 93,000 spectators.”

The last great soccer tournament hosted by Spain was the 1982 World Cup. Out of all the nations that have won a Cup, only Britain and Spain have been hosts just once: Italy hosted the event in 1934 and 1990, France in 1938 and 1998, and Germany in 1974 and 2006. Morocco has presented half a dozen bids, always unsuccessfully.

If the joint Spanish-Portuguese-Moroccan bid for 2030 prospers, it will face other rival partnerships. In July of last year, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay announced they would seek to host the tournament together. And South Korea has made public overtures to North Korea, Japan and China. Meanwhile, Ireland and the UK are considering a joint bid under the sponsorship of UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin. Morocco had initially considered running together with Algeria and Tunisia. A decision is expected next year.

English version by Susana Urra.

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