Wednesday, 21 February 2018

FIFA accused of double standards over 2026 World Cup bids

FIFA have been accused of double standards after different rules were seemingly applied to countries presenting their bids for hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Morocco 2026 bid team were set to demonstrate their credentials as a host nation in a presentation at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Congress in Casablanca, but FIFA banned them from doing so.

This was due to rules that stipulate that "all officials shall refrain from publicly making any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bidders in relation to their bids".

At the Congress, which was attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CAF President Ahmad simply announced that Morocco had submitted a bid instead of promoting the campaign.

Later, however, according to the BBC, Ahmad refused to toe the line and said: "I am for Morocco as you know as I have already said it.

"I won't be neutral, I can tell you what I want - when others are asked I will let them reply as they wish.

FIFA accused of double standards over 2026 World Cup bids

"I will act within the regulations and with the advice of my legal counsellor.

"I can't tell you today how or when I will act, but the fact that I'm speaking openly about it is a backing, isn't it?"

CAF were further angered when officials from the three-nation 2026 bid of United States, Mexico and Canada were seemingly given permission to address the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations in Johannesburg, leading to accusations of double standards.

Infantino, however, was at pains to downplay the situation with his organisation keen to avoid the chaos and corruption allegations that surrounded the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

"It is for this reason that, for the World Cup 2026, it was decided to establish very strict and very clear regulations," he said according to Inside World Football.

"The rules are clear and must ensure that all candidates are treated the same.

"They say, for example, that candidates are not entitled to submit their candidacy to Confederations unless they make a specific request to FIFA detailing their entire presentation."

The host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be decided on June 13 in Moscow, with all 211 FIFA member associations casting a vote.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will start the following day.

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