Cruz and Ortiz have already designed the stadium for 2026 and will now increase the capacity to 113,000 spectators

A Spanish studio will design the colossal stadium in Morocco that could host the 2030 World Cup final

Aficionados del Wydad ondean banderas durante el partido de fútbol de la segunda ronda de la Copa Mundial de Clubes de la FIFA entre el Wydad AC marroquí y el Al-Hilal saudí en el estadio Príncipe Moulay Abdellah de Rabat el 4 de febrero de 2023
photo_camera PHOTO/AFP/FADEL SENNA - Wydad fans wave flags during the FIFA Club World Cup second round football match between Morocco's Wydad AC and Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium in Rabat on February 4, 2023

Morocco has thrown itself into the 2030 World Cup, which it will host alongside Portugal and Spain, to the point of making the choice of the stadium for the final on 14 July 2030 very complicated. Everything seemed to indicate that the new Santiago Bernabéu would be the right venue for the match, even more so than the renovated Camp Nou, but the new stadium in Benslimane, 40 kilometres from Casablanca, will be the jewel in the tournament's crown.  

The final dossier will be presented in December 2024 and, until then, negotiations will be tough because Morocco wants to put its stadiums, which will host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2025 and the Arab Cup of Nations in 2029, on the line. FIFA needs stadiums to be built or to be refurbished by next year, but it will be difficult for the colossal stadium in Casablanca to be little more than a skeleton.  

Atalayar has had access to a report by the prestigious architectural firm Cruz y Ortiz detailing what the football stadium would look like for the 2026 World Cup in Morocco, which finally went to the United States, Canada and Mexico. An architectural jewel very similar to the Metropolitano that occupied 51,729 m2 on a 100,000 m2 site and had a maximum capacity of 90,000 spectators.  

The study explains in that document details such as that "the circle is the geometry that maximises the grandstand area within the visibility conditions established by FIFA: the spectator's view of the pitch must not exceed a distance of 190 metres". Other details explain that "the spectator bowl is buried 15 metres deep and is enveloped by a topography that organises the accesses on different levels according to the type of spectator. The exterior volume is reduced to an elevation of variable height and whose constructive definition is the same as that of the roof. This light and dynamic roof is therefore the element responsible for the external image of the building".  

The similarities with Atlético de Madrid's stadium are no coincidence; Cruz and Ortiz also designed the Metropolitano and others such as that of the French team Clermont, the sports city of Dalian Yifang FC, a Chinese team, or the stadium of Grasshopper Zurich in Switzerland. Although the National Architecture Award was won in 1998 for the La Cartuja stadium in Seville, revived in recent years thanks to the agreement between the Andalusian Regional Government and the RFEF. Now the challenge has taken on historic proportions because from 90,000 spectators the aim is to increase the capacity to 113,000 and become one of the largest football stadiums in the world, second only to the Rungrado Primero de Mayo in Pyongyang, North Korea, with a capacity for 114,000 people, and above others dedicated to sports such as cricket, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground with 100,000 spectators or the Michigan Stadium in the United States with 107,000. 

- Los presidentes de las federaciones de fútbol de Marruecos, Fouzi Lekjaa , Portugal, Fernando Gomes, y España, Pedro Rocha
PHOTO/RFEF - The presidents of the football federations of Morocco, Fouzi Lekjaa, Portugal, Fernando Gomes, and Spain, Pedro Rocha

To build this colossal stadium, Morocco will invest 500 million euros, much more than the 300 million euros of the Metropolitano, although far from the 893 million euros of the new Bernabéu or the 1,500 million euros of the new Camp Nou plus the Espai Barça, which has generated so many economic problems. But in these cases it is clubs that are behind the investment, in the case of Casablanca it is the Moroccan Federation that wants to build a stadium of three or four floors and which the study has described as a "major technical challenge".  

With this monumental sporting venue, Morocco wants to host the grand final of the 2030 World Cup as well as six of the 48 countries that will take part in the centenary World Cup after FIFA's expansion to 104 matches in just over a month's time. Meetings have already begun in Lisbon and Madrid and it is expected that when they move to Casablanca FRMF president Fouzi Lekjaa will take the floor and put on the table the firm option of the new stadium making history by hosting the second World Cup final on African soil.

More in Sports