The president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation will be the key player in defending the bid alongside Spain and Portugal, against the other two contenders to host the World Cup

Mohamed VI appoints Lekjaa to head Morocco's bid for the 2030 World Cup

PHOTO/FILE - Mohamed VI, rey de Marruecos
PHOTO/ARCHIVE - Mohamed VI, King of Morocco

One more step for Morocco to host the 2030 World Cup, along with Spain and Portugal. King Mohamed VI has entrusted the presidency of the committee in charge of the joint bid to Fouzi Lekjaa, the president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) and also minister delegate in charge of budgets.   

Lekjaa has become a benchmark of football success after leading the Moroccan national team to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar for the first time in its history.  

"Unprecedented in the history of football, this joint bid will be one of union: between Africa and Europe, between the north and south of the Mediterranean, and between the African, Arab and Euro-Mediterranean worlds. It will also be a bid to unite the best on both sides, and the demonstration of an alliance of genius, creativity, experience and means," announced King Mohammed VI. 

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Selección de Fútbol de Marruecos
PHOTO/FILE - Morocco national football team

On 14 March, on the occasion of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) award for excellence, the Alawi monarch announced Morocco's decision to bid, along with Spain and Portugal, to host the 2030 World Cup. This is the first time that countries from different continents have been authorised to merge into a single project. 

Morocco, a key player compared to the other bids  

The bids of Spain, Portugal and Morocco are up against other candidates for the 2030 World Cup. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece is the one that aims to position itself as an Afro-Asian centre and fulfil the unprecedented bid to unite two continents, as the Iberian bid already does.   

Moreover, the World Cup coincides with the date of Riyadh's strategic plan to diversify its economy for the future: the Saudi Vision 2030. The crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, is projecting in football and the world of sport a way out of the country's economic dependence on oil, attracting great football players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE - Valla publicitaria que da la bienvenida al nuevo delantero portugués del club de fútbol saudí al-Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo, se muestra a lo largo de una carretera en la capital de Arabia Saudita, Riyadh, el 3 de enero de 2023
AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE - Billboard welcoming Saudi Arabian football club al-Nassr's new Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo is shown along a roadside in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on 3 January 2023

However, the countries with which Riyadh aspired to host the tournament, Greece and Egypt, have not stepped up to the plate. Greece does not have the necessary sporting infrastructures to host the World Cup, and Athens says it is not the right time because of the serious economic and political crisis the country is going through, despite Saudi Arabia's offer to invest in the infrastructures. The same reason why Cairo decided to take "no" as an answer to Saudi Arabia's request. 

The other officially submitted bid is that of Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay, a very possible option given that it is the centenary of the first World Cup, which was held in Uruguay. The symbolism of the world's biggest tournament could tip the balance in favour of the American bid.   

Ukraine's accession up in the air  

Ukraine's accession to the 2030 World Cup is on hold due to legal problems. The country joined the Iberian bid with the city of Kiev as a gesture of solidarity in the fight against Vladimir Putin's invading Russia, but government interference resulted in Andriy Pavelko, the president of the Ukrainian federation, being suspended.  

Both the Spanish and Portuguese Football Associations and UEFA itself have postponed Ukraine's inclusion in the bid until the legal dispute is resolved.