North African nation Morocco will join forces with Spain and Portugal in three-way bid to host the 2030 soccer World Cup, officials confirmed on Tuesday.
Spain and Portugal had initially been joined by Ukraine as a potential partner for their 2030 bid, but with the latter’s war with Russia having no end in sight, Morocco have stepped in.
“I would like to announce that the Kingdom of Morocco has decided, together with Spain and Portugal, to present a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup,” Morocco’s King Mohammed VI said in a letter read by the country’s minister of sport Chakib Benmoussa in Kigali, where soccer body FIFA hosts its 73rd Congress on Thursday.
“This joint bid, which is unprecedented in football history, will bring together Africa and Europe, the northern and southern Mediterranean, and the African, Arab and Euro-Mediterranean worlds.
“It will also bring out the best in all of us — in effect a combination of genius, creativity, experience and means.”
Morocco have bid for several World Cup finals in the past, coming closest in the race to stage the 2010 tournament where they lost out to South Africa.
They stunned the world at the tournament in Qatar last year when they became the first African side to reach the semifinals where they lost to France. Morocco eventually finished fourth behind Croatia.
The African nation also hosted the 2022 Club World Cup, which was delayed due to the Qatar World Cup and held last month.
There is one other confirmed joint bid for the 2030 finals from South American nations Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay. The latter hosted the first World Cup finals in 1930.
The 2026 World Cup will be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada with 48 teams playing a total of 104 matches.
FIFA approved a new format on Tuesday with 12 groups where the top two teams and eight best third-placed teams moving into the knockout round of 32.