Earlier today, USA, Canada and Mexico won a joint bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. With a wealth of world class stadiums, transportation accommodation and hotels, this seems like a good fit. Throw in successful World Cups – both male and female – hosted in 1970, 1986, 1994 and 2015, and the three countries should be good hosts.
However, this article is not about them. It’s about the country that lost the bid, and why that may be a cause for celebration.
Morocco put in a last minute bid challenging the America-led initiative, and for a while seemed like they may be able to pull off a miracle. However, despite their best attempts to become only the second African nation to host the FIFA World Cup, it was a complete mismatch on paper.
The winning bid wants to use 16 stadiums out of a potential 23 venues, with just six of those needing renovations. Morocco’s bid included a desire to use 14 stadiums, with nine of those still needing to be built! Even a FIFA technical report gave the joint bid a score of 402.8 out of 500 in comparison to Morocco’s 274.9. Perhaps most importantly, the American-led bid promised revenues of up to $14.3 billion compared to their rival’s hopes of $7.2 billion.
While their national pride might be wounded at the moment, perhaps the citizens of Morocco should be grateful that they lost this bid in the long run. After all, other developing nations that have hosted the FIFA World Cup have not exactly justified their immense public spending post-tournament.
South Africa spent £2.4 billion on building six new stadiums for the 2010 competition, and now they lay largely empty apart from the occasional pop concert. Similarly, Brazil’s massive public spending on stadiums and infrastructure for the last World Cup led to protests from citizens who felt that their corrupt politicians should have allocated the money for desperately needed public services. According to Swiss-based NGO Terre des Hommes, 170,000 people lost their homes due to the restructuring in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
To understand just how deadly an international sporting tournament could be, we turned to Capitalmind Wealth CEO Deepak Shenoy for some answers on the latest episode of The Capitalmind Show. Focussing on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Shenoy had some surprising answers that shed light on how and why developing nations host these events.
You can also listen to this video as a podcast here.