Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
3 minute read
1 Jun 2018
10:08 am

Safa to reveal who they are backing for 2026 World Cup

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Danny Jordaan says Safa will only sit and decide on who to back on Sunday.

Danny Jordaan, SAFA president. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

The South African Football Association (Safa) are yet to decide on who to back between Morocco and the US-led three-nation bid to host the 2026 Fifa World Cup and president Danny Jordaan believes the stacks are heavily stacked against the African country.

A congress which will decide on the hosts will take place in Russia on June 13, one day before the 2019 edition kicks off.

The Americans, the 1994 hosts, are bidding to co-host with their neighbours Mexico, a two-time host themselves, and Canada, while Morocco is going about it all on their own.

READ: Safa to bid for Women’s World Cup

Jordaan said Safa will only sit and decide on who to back on Sunday.

“We have invited the Minister of Sport to the meeting. Two weeks ago we had a presentation from Morocco. Their bid is essentially saying that it is an African World Cup. We will have the US-led bid do their presentation as well this weekend,” said Jordaan yesterday.

There has been a wide perception from African countries that Morocco do not see themselves as part of Africa and that their hosting will benefit European countries who are geographically close to them.

“Morocco joined the African Union last year. They say their commitment is to Africa and they want to continue growing the continent and by hosting it will help in that regard,” said Jordaan.

READ: SA to face Brazil at Under-17 World Cup

The voting process has been changed and by the looks of things, Morocco have little chance of pulling it off, especially if they do not get 100% backing from African nations, the Safa boss added.

“Because of what happened in the past, Fifa changed both the criteria and voting process. The voting process now allows each of the 211 member countries to vote and the total number of votes will determine who’ll host the World Cup.

“Most of Fifa’s sponsors are American companies and a significant share of broadcast revenue comes from those three countries.

“Their argument is around the financial benefit that Fifa will harvest as a result of a World Cup in those countries and therefore Fifa will have more money for their programmes.

“Fifa has developed a criteria where they evaluate on existing infrastructure – if you have a stadium ready in your country you get five points. Morocco have five stadiums ready and that equates to 25 points.

“They also have five which will be upgraded and that gives them a point for each and it takes their tally to 30.

“The US-led bid has 23 stadiums ready and that is 115 points. I asked the Moroccans why they agreed to this criteria because the World Cup they are bidding for is in 2026.

“You need three to three-and-a-half-years to build a stadium. If you get awarded the right in June 2018, you can build your stadiums and they would be ready by 2022 and you will only be hosting four years later.

“This criteria is heavily stacked against Morocco.”

Jordaan also revealed that Safa are planning on putting a bid for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup and other big tournaments which will be revealed soon.