— Published 16 March 2023

Morocco strengthens the bid

There is no longer any doubt: Morocco will team up with Spain and Portugal in the battle for the award of the World Cup in 2030. Announced the day before in a communiqué signed by King Mohammed VI, his arrival was confirmed on Wednesday 15 March by the heads of the Spanish and Portuguese governments. Coincidentally, the two men were meeting in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, for a bilateral summit. They took the opportunity to assure that the addition of Morocco strengthened the case. “I think that this candidacy of the Iberian Peninsula with Morocco carries a weight, a very important message for the world, and in particular for Europe and Africa,” suggested Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa. “We are two neighbouring continents and we want to work together. We are not two distant continents that want to compete but, on the contrary, want to celebrate sport and all the values associated with sport together.” For Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister, the addition of Morocco “puts the joint bid of Spain and Portugal in the best possible position to win this race. It sends a positive message and improves conditions.” Neither man mentioned Ukraine, which earlier this week was still among the trio bidding for the 2030 World Cup. But according to the Spanish press, the arrival of Morocco has ruled it out of the project for good. Ukraine is said to have been ousted because of the recent suspension of the president of its football federation for alleged corruption. A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday 15 March in Kigali, Rwanda, on the sidelines of the FIFA Congress, between the Spanish, Portuguese and Moroccan leaders.