Morocco challenges North America with bid for 2026 World Cup

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — The Moroccan soccer federation says it will bid for the 2026 World Cup, providing a challenge to North American hopes of hosting the FIFA tournament.

The United States, Canada and Mexico launched a joint bid in April and hoped to be awarded the World Cup without facing a challenge.

But FIFA decided to open up the contest and Morocco met Friday's deadline to express an interest in bidding. Morocco released a two-sentence statement saying it had officially launched its bid and sent documents to FIFA.

Europe and Asia can't host the 2026 tournament because Russia will stage the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 World Cup. Only bids from the Americas, Africa and Oceania were eligible.