Morocco will join Spain and Portugal in a bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
The announcement on Tuesday, which raises further doubts over Ukraine’s participation in the bid, was made through a statement signed by King Mohammed VI and read at a meeting of the Confederation of African Football.
“The Kingdom of Morocco has decided, together with Spain and Portugal, to present a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup,” the statement said.
“This joint bid, which is unprecedented in football history, will bring together Africa and Europe, the northern and southern Mediterranean, and the African, Arab and Euro-Mediterranean worlds. It will also bring out the best in all of us – in effect, a combination of genius, creativity, experience, and means.”
Morocco committed to taking part in the 2030 bid more than four years ago, immediately after losing the vote for the 2026 tournament. It was in talks with the Iberian nations for a while but had never been officially included in the bid.
Last October, Spain and Portugal were joined in their longstanding European candidacy by Ukraine, which is not likely to remain in the bid.
A spokesman for the Spanish football federation told AFP news agency it would meet its Portuguese and Moroccan counterparts in Kigali on Wednesday, but made no mention of Ukraine.
“The presidents will announce any news regarding the candidacy for the 2030 World Cup in Kigali,” the spokesman added.
Morocco stunned the world at the tournament in Qatar last year when it became the first Arab and African side to reach the semifinals where they lost to France. Morocco eventually finished fourth behind Croatia.
In February this year, Morocco hosted FIFA’s Club World Cup.
The 2030 World Cup hosts are expected to be picked in September 2024. The co-hosting bids from South America and Europe have been the expected favourites.
The inaugural 1930 World Cup host, Uruguay, is part of a centenary bid with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.
The World Cup has had joint hosts before.
In 2002, Japan and South Korea shared the competition. In 2026, the tournament will be played in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The 2026 World Cup will expand from 32 teams to 48 and, under the format FIFA announced on Tuesday, will stretch to 104 matches, up from 64 in Qatar last year.