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2026 FIFA World Cup Vote live: North America vs. Morocco

    Abdulaziz Sobh
    By Abdulaziz Sobh

    Categories: Recreation and Sports

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    FIFA holds its annual congress on Wednesday. The most important item on the agenda is the vote to grant housing rights to the 2026 World Cup. There are only two announced candidates: a combined offer from the United States, Mexico and Canada, and an individual offer from Morocco. How to watch: The FIFA vote is broadcast live on The FIFA Congress started just after 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. East). Fox Sports will start programming at 6:30 a.m. Eastern. If you have beIN Sports, you can watch it at 6 a.m.

    Back from rest
    Congress returns from a half-hour coffee break with a third test of the electronic voting system. This time, the question is: "If the FIFA headquarters is in Zurich, Switzerland?" And once again, not all of them cast a valid vote, and the percentage of correct answers is only 95. Hmmmmm.

    South Africa flipping?
    The Sunday Times of South Africa reports that the South African football federation will once again back its initial support for Morocco and endorse North America's bid for the 2026 World Cup instead. "South Africa will break ranks with most of the rest of the continent and will vote for joint offers from North America instead of Morocco," reports Mark Gleeson.

    Putin arrives at the lounge
    Well, this was not on the printed agenda, but Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has arrived to address the FIFA Congress. Infantino greets him with a modified dancer's movement and Putin steps towards the lectern.

    "Our goal is that all the football stars of our guests or regular admirers feel the hospitality and the welcoming nature of our nation, to understand our unique culture and unique nature and for fans to want to return," he says. "We hope to see you all in the first match. Welcome to Russia."

    Annnnd we take a half-hour break. Surely wonderful news for Americans who woke up in the middle of the night for this.

    Compliance speeches and budget reports at 4 a. M. On the east coast of the United States are a special type of sleep aid. Congratulations to anyone who plays it while they wait for the 2026 vote.

    Blatter weighs in
    From The Associated Press: former FIFA president, Joseph Blatter, is claiming that Morocco has not been eliminated by the inspectors as a candidate to host the 2026 World Cup.

    Blatter, who was expelled from power at FIFA in 2015 for financial misconduct, has publicly endorsed Morocco's offer.

    He told the AP that "I was fighting for Morocco and for Africa because at one time (FIFA) I wanted to eliminate Morocco before going to the vote, and now they are in the voting and I think it is a victory also from my intervention. , especially. "

    Morocco received a score of 2.7 out of 5 on the part of the FIFA inspection task force, which marked North America with a 4 in the same report last month. Morocco would have been disqualified if it had scored less than 2.

    From the dead
    More childish: the president also reminded members of the state the organization was in when he took over in 2016, describing FIFA as "clinically dead" at that time. Then he tells them that under his stewardship he is now "alive and full of passion with a vision for his future."

    Infantino sings the standards, in four languages
    FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who alternates effortlessly between four languages, uses his speech to Congress to highlight FIFA's development spending and its work to increase revenue. This is a standard for FIFA presidents when they talk to the smallest countries in the organization, and it is a point that they chose in 2016 after they promised to double development payments to member countries. But experienced listeners among you probably got the subtle clue that it was sent before the 2026 vote that an offer promises to generate more than twice the income of the other.

    Those billions of dollars of the World Cup is where the money for the development of FIFA comes from, and Infantino is basically saying today that the more than income is spread as investments in world football, the better.

    Sweden for North America
    The president of the Swedish football association, Karl-Erik Nilsson, told a radio interviewer that his country would vote today for the candidacy of the United States. There are three Nordic countries that will commit to the offer of North America in the last hour.

    Without Ghana
    Ghana announces itself as absent in the roll-call vote. That leaves 210 members present at the Congress, and given that the four candidate nations cannot cast their ballots, it means that the magical number to guarantee victory in the 2026 vote remains at 104. Morocco has been pressing to prevent four territories Americans vote, too, but the Americans are expected to challenge it.

    Late at night? For many, yes
    A note from Tariq Panja, with clouded eyes, that went out very late on Tuesday: the teams of both offers worked well into the early hours of Wednesday to target undecided voters in Europe and Asia. Shortly after 12.30 a.m., a Moroccan delegation entered the five-star hotel Baltschug Kempinski. They were followed less than 10 minutes later by a team from the North American bid, including the US president. UU., Carlos Cordeiro.

    The two teams had been watching the movements of the others throughout the week in Moscow, visiting several meetings of the confederation, and the trip to Baltschug Kempinski, the hotel of Asian associations, was a sign that both bidders remained convinced that they still had the opportunity to do so. the greatest prize for safe sport.

    The offer from North America was able to count on the vocal and practical support of Saudi Arabia weeks before the final vote. The Saudis organized meetings with other Asian nations in Jidda last month and, without leaving anything to chance, pressed on behalf of the Americans until the final moments.

    Hours before, and perhaps the biggest sign of the unpredictable nature of the FIFA election, the Netherlands, which had given the North American bid all the signs that its vote was insured, announced that they would support Morocco in its place.

    Two more for North America
    Finland and Denmark announced this morning that they would support North America's bid for the 2026 World Cup.

    A small comedy to start
    The congress begins with two tests of the voting system that will become the star later. FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura asks members to answer two questions: Is the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow taking place? And will the 2018 World Cup take place in Moscow? It is problematic that the correct answer, "yes", get only 95 percent. "I think those who have voted have not had a long night, or a short night, depending on how they want to see it," jokes FIFA President Gianni Infantino, before beginning his words of welcome.

    Another curious detail of those votes: 18 voters did not respond to the first and 22 did not respond the second. Hopefully, they will not be bothered, instead of a problem with (or a misunderstanding on how to use it) electronic voting devices.

    What else is on the agenda today?
    The 2026 vote is the headliner, but FIFA also has other issues on the agenda. The proposed changes to FIFA's statutes and the possibility of suspension or expulsion of members will be examined (the Ghana football association, for example, is in the midst of a serious corruption crisis). FIFA will approve a budget - The Times took those numbers yesterday - and a lot of arcane talk about the rules and assignments of the committees.

    World Cup 2026 Top Story Lines
    • The race for the 2026 World Cup began last August. For a time, it seemed that the Americans, who had announced their intentions in April, would bid on their own. But Morocco jumped to the last day for countries to announce that they would make an offer; The decision forced the Americans to rewrite their press releases, but it did not diminish their role as the favorite.

    • FIFA technical inspectors conducted site inspections during visits to both offers in April. His resulting report called the North American offer "very good," but he declared the Moroccan effort simply "enough." While the inspectors did not eliminate Morocco from the race, they noted concerns about their reception capacity.

    • To win the right to host the World Cup, an offer must obtain a simple majority of votes from the FIFA member associations, each having its opinion this year. It is the first time that FIFA's membership has anything to say; in the past, accommodation rights were granted in a secret ballot by the governing council of FIFA.

    • North America's offer is based on the words "unity, certainty, and opportunity". It is offering a choice between 23 existing stadiums in 16 cities of the three countries. But their main selling point is money: the candidates' leaders have tempted voters with the promise of a record $ 11 billion payday for FIFA and its members.

    • Morocco has been irritated with all the jargon of money, perhaps because there is no way I can match it. Instead, the Moroccans have told the "passion" of their country for football and its proximity to the valuable European television markets, where their games would be broadcasted in primetime.

    • The main problem in Morocco is the infrastructure; I would have to build nine stadiums for the event, without mentioning roads, railways, and hotels, among many other investments.