Support for the United States-led bid to host the 2026 World Cup is more divided than most predicted, with some estimates of voting totals having Morocco not just threatening the North American bid but actually beating it, multiple high-ranking football executives within FIFA and the continental confederations told ESPN this week.
The United States won’t be playing in the World Cup in Russia this summer, but bringing the 2026 tournament to North America had always been seen as significant solace.
Yet now, with just over three months until the pre-tournament FIFA Congress — at which the body’s 211 member nations will vote on those hosting rights — even that consolation prize for American soccer fans might be in doubt.
Losing out would be hard to stomach for the North American contingent.
After all, public perception among many in the soccer world has long been that the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico would fairly easily beat the one from Morocco a North African country with a population of about 33 million to host.
One official who is in regular contact with all of the continental confederations estimated that Morocco has the support of much of Asia and South America, as well as its home continent of Africa, which would put it over the 104 votes needed.
All four bid nations cannot vote while the Guatemalan federation is currently suspended.