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Criticized by Morocco, FIFA responds saying it does not want «white elephant» stadiums

FIFA has responded to questions raised by Morocco after it realized that changes were added to the 2026 World Cup scoring system. It warned that it does not want unfitting «white elephant» stadiums.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino./Ph. DR
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FIFA is not happy with Morocco questioning the fairness of its process and that was highlighted in its second reproach to the country. The international football governing body did not stop there but also warned the Kingdom, saying that it does not want unfitting «white elephant» stadiums for the 2026 tournament, said Associated Press on Tuesday.

Responding to the letter sent by the Moroccan Royal Football Federation president Fouzi Lekjaa in which he raised concerns regarding FIFA’s scoring system, the association stressed that the process was drafted to break up with the past.

Morocco, in fact, denounced the «undisclosed changes» added to the eligibility criteria few hours before the deadline for bid books were submitted last month. Speaking to the same source, FIFA commented on the Kingdom’s concerns on Tuesday indicating that :

No to white elephant stadiums

«In order to avoid unsustainable bids ... with the creation of ‘white elephants’ — something FIFA has been heavily criticized for in the past — the scoring system evaluates with objective criteria how meaningful and sustainable is the infrastructure presented in the bids.»

In his letter Lekjaa complained last week that the new «scoring system adds several new technical criteria which were not part of the original regulations,» adding that «these elements were never conveyed to the FRMF (Moroccan FA) during the preparation of the bid book.»

To that, the FIFA replied insisting that «the basis of the preparation of a bid should not be the scoring system for the technical evaluation but rather the requirements which FIFA has provided to the bidders in 2017 through the bidding and hosting requirements».

The FIFA, furthermore declared that the hosting requirements set in the bidding registration documents «have not changed», arguing that the scoring system is just a way of determining to what extent the bids are meeting the FIFA requirements.

«A host city could still meet the minimum requirements for transport without meeting such an individual requirement on the location of the airport, in particular if other criteria are satisfied» said the FIFA.

Earlier last week, Morocco bid chairman Moulay Hafid Elalamy criticized the FIFA impartiality, pointing out that President Gianni Infantino has showed support for the North American bid. The FIFA commented immediately on Elalamy’s remarks insisting that its president won’t take part in the vote of the congress and is not involved in technically evaluating the bids.

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