A top bidder for the 2030 World Cup has made a switch.
Spain and Portugal have added Morocco to their bid, while Ukraine appears to have been removed. If selected, Morocco — the next-closest country to Spain besides France — would be the first North African nation to host World Cup games.
The bid, which has UEFA’s backing, initially included Ukraine and was presented as an opportunity for the World Cup to heal damage from Russia’s invasion.
However, as the conflict rages on, each day it becomes less likely that Ukraine could host World Cup matches in seven years.
The other contenders to host the 2030 World Cup are a joint bid from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay, and another from Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Egypt.
Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women was brought into focus when U.S. Women’s National Team star Alex Morgan said it was “bizarre” for FIFA to entertain having Saudi Arabia’s tourism board as a sponsor for the 2023 Women’s World Cup: “I would not even be supported or accepted in that country.”
“What Saudi Arabia can do is put efforts into their women’s team, that was just formed only a couple of years ago and doesn’t even have a current ranking within the FIFA ranking system because of the such few games that they’ve played,” Morgan added.