RABAT: Morocco congratulated the United States, Canada and Mexico after they defeated the North African kingdom's bid to host the 2026 World Cup on Wednesday.
“At the 68th congress of @FIFAcom, member countries voted in favour of North America” to host the tournament, Morocco's committee for the 2026 games said on Twitter.
“#Maroc2026 congratulates @United2026 on their victory.”
The vote at FIFA's annual congress, held this year in Moscow, came a day before the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Morocco had hoped to become the second country in Africa to host football's biggest competition, after South Africa in 2010.
But the vote's result was clear: 65 votes for Morocco and 134 votes for the North American trio.
Moroccan media nevertheless congratulated Morocco on its “realistic” bid, while others called its loss a “cold shower”.
“I was sad when the winner was announced,” said former Moroccan footballer Abdelkrim El Hadrioui.
“At the same time, I wasn't surprised because Morocco went up against the American giant, which mobilised in recent weeks to influence voters,” Hadrioui said.
Said Belkhayat, a four-time member of Morocco's World Cup bid committee, told AFP: “Like all Moroccans, I am sad and disappointed.”
Morocco's bid was its fifth failure, after setbacks in 2010, 2006, 1998 and 1994. — AFP