Morocco to spend $16bn for 2026 World Cup venue on infrastructure

File Photo showing a match final between Wydad Casablanca vs Al Ahly Egypt playinhg at Mohammed V Stadium, Casablanca, Nov 4, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 17 March 2018
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Morocco to spend $16bn for 2026 World Cup venue on infrastructure

RABAT: Morocco says it will need to spend almost $16 billion to prepare to host the 2026 World Cup, with every proposed stadium and training ground built from scratch or renovated.
With less than three months until the FIFA vote, the north African nation on Saturday presented details of its proposal to take on the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The North American bid plans to rely on existing infrastructure, including large NFL stadiums already hosting events.
When FIFA insiders score the bids, infrastructure — of which half relates to stadiums — will account for 70 percent of the panel’s mark. The remaining 30 percent is based on projected costs and revenues. A high-risk bid can be disqualified before the FIFA Congress votes on June 13.
Morocco says for $3 billion it can build nine stadiums, refurbish five others and build or renovate 130 training grounds.
That is part of the $12.6 billion in public investment that also requires hospital services being upgraded in 20 cities and transport networks improved for the first 48-team World Cup.
The bid says another $3.2 billion of private investment is required to build hotels.
Morocco’s bid team told The Associated Press that the projections had been “carefully costed” but could not provide a breakdown on how the figures were reached.


Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

Updated 11 December 2018
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Ahmed Barman out to toast Al-Ain success in FIFA Club World Cup

  • Tournament gets under way on Wednesday when Al-Ain take on Team Wellington at home.
  • UAE midfielder sure his side can cause a few shocks.

LONDON: While he is only too aware of the quality opposition they have to face, Al-Ain midfielder Ahmed Barman is backing “The Boss” to scare a few teams in the FIFA Club World Cup.
The tournament gets under way when the UAE outfit face Team Wellington on their home ground in the opener today. Last year saw fellow Arabian Gulf League side Al-Jazira reach the semifinal where they gave Real Madrid a huge fright before narrowly losing 2-1. And inspired by that march to the last four, Barman is looking for Al-Ain to go one better and become the first Emirati side to make the final.
“The FIFA Club World Cup is a global competition coveted by every club,” Barman said. “Al-Ahli, Al-Jazira and Al-Wahda participated in this tournament before and did their part, putting the UAE on the world map. We at Al-Ain hope to reach the semi-final, as Al-Jazira did, or do even better.”
Before any tournament it is only natural to dream of glory and lifting the trophy in front of adoring fans. But the midfielder is not getting too cocky, revealing that despite having home advantage Al-Ain are taking absolutely nothing for granted, starting with Wednesday’s clash against the Kiwis.
“There’s no doubt that we’re aiming to reach the final and face a giant like Real Madrid, but first we have to focus on our opening match against Team Wellington,” the 24-year-old said.
“We need to win to progress from this round and play the subsequent games until we reach the final against Real Madrid and show a standard of play the UAE can be proud of.”
Barman is not anticipating an easy opener.
“Team Wellington are a very good team with considerable ability. They won their local league and the OFC Champions League, which proves they’re powerful.
“So, all our focus is on this opening match. We’re annualizing our opponents to understand their capabilities as we prepare to perform well on the pitch and get positive result.”
The UAE champions did not have the best preparation for their stab at Club World Cup glory, losing 5-2 to Al-Wasl in the UAE President’s Cup at the weekend.
That result, while clearly not ideal, has not bothered the side’s coach.
“We cannot win every game, what is gone is gone, it’s full concentration on the match ahead,” Zoran Mamic said.
“There are no rules that Al-Ain cannot lose games, that’s why I don’t make any drama.”
But while Barman was keen to invoke the memory of Al-Jazira’s march to the last four, his boss was less so, telling his team to focus on the match at hand before getting ahead of themselves.
“We are not here to talk about last year, just as we are not here to talk about the future,” the Croatian said. “We are here to represent the club in the best possible way. We focus on the match at hand and everything will take care of itself.”
Of today’s opponents he added: “We have watched all their games, we know their strengths and where they are not so strong. They are particularly good offensively, they play with fast wingers and a striker who is a good scorer, they play a system that is unusual to us because no teams in the Emirates play with three in the last line. If we do our job we will (have) a good match.”