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Morocco's ambitious plans to stage 2030 World Cup final face opposition

The African nation is set to invest heavily in stadia across the country

Morocco, recently confirmed as a joint-host of the 2030 World Cup finals alongside Portugal and Spain, has unveiled ambitious plans to stage the final match. However, these plans are facing opposition from Spain, which has its own aspirations to host the final at either Barcelona’s Nou Camp or Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

The contention seems to be primarily between Morocco and Spain, as Portugal's largest stadium falls short of FIFA's requirement for a final to be held in a stadium with a capacity of at least 80,000. Portugal's largest stadium can only accommodate 65,000 spectators.

Morocco's stadium plans and investments

In a bid to secure the final, Morocco's Government, in collaboration with Groupe CDG, has pledged around MAD 20 billion (£1.6 billion/$2 billion/€1.9 billion) to upgrade six stadiums in Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat, Agadir, Marrakech and Fez. Additionally, they plan to construct a new stadium in Benslimane with a capacity of 90,000.

These investments aim to:

  • Ensure that the stadiums meet the Confederation of African Football (CAF) standards for the 2025 AFCON
  • Fulfil the requirements set by FIFA for the 2030 World Cup

Fouzi Lekjaa, head of Morocco’s Football Federation, expressed his hope for the final to be held in Casablanca. He envisions the country's efforts culminating in a historic final celebrated in Casablanca stadium.

However, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti believes that the final should be played at the Santiago Bernabeu, the home of Los Blancos.

Speaking to Football Espana, Carlo Ancelotti said:

"The World Cup final has to be played in Madrid because Madrid is the capital of Spain.

"And it has to be played at the Bernabeu because the Bernabeu is going to be the best stadium in the world. 

Joint intent to FIFA

The Presidents of the Moroccan, Portuguese and Spanish Football Federations have agreed to submit their formal letter of joint intent to FIFA on October 28 in Rabat. This agreement was reached during a meeting in Lisbon, marking the first step in the application process.

Morocco's confirmation as a co-host for the 2030 World Cup, replacing Ukraine earlier this year, comes after five unsuccessful attempts. This news has brought much-needed cheer to the North African country, which recently suffered a devastating earthquake.

Future World Cup hosts

FIFA is yet to decide the distribution of games among the three host nations for the 2030 World Cup. However, they have announced that the first three games will be held in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay to commemorate the tournament's centenary.

Looking ahead, the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is the frontrunner to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, with the Asian Football Confederation already backing its bid.

As the world eagerly awaits the 2030 World Cup, the dispute between Morocco and Spain adds an intriguing subplot to the build-up. Regardless of the outcome, football fans worldwide can look forward to a spectacular tournament.

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