Algeria will consider submitting a joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup with Morocco and Tunisia, Algeria’s sports minister said, just weeks after Rabat lost out to a US-led bid to host the 2026 tournament with Canada and Mexico.
Sports Minister Mohamed Hattab told reporters this week that his country, which has at times been at odds with its neighbour Morocco – notably over the Western Sahara issue – would “study the possible candidacy of the Maghreb countries for the organisation of the World Cup”.
“An application from the Maghreb with Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia can be achieved through existing infrastructure as well as future projects,” said Hattab.
“When we look at our cities, with the sporting and culture facilities present, we are able to consider that we can host major world events.”
Morocco, which has failed in all of its five attempts to host the tournament, voiced its interest in bidding for the 2030 edition immediately after learning it had failed to secure the 2026 run.
Moncef Belkhayat, a member of Morocco’s failed 2026 bidding committee, said in June that King Mohammed VI had the ambition to see the North African country host the event in 2030.
“I’m delighted his Majesty King Mohammed VI has taken the decision to make Morocco a bid nation for World Cup 2030,” Belkhayat said at the time.
“It shows also our perseverance to do better and better for the sake of Morocco and worldwide football.”
Both Morocco and Tunisia made it to this year’s tournament but were eliminated at the group stage while Algeria, absent in Russia, made it to the second round in Brazil back in 2014.
Incentive for cooperation
Despite the tense relations that have characterised both countries’ shared history, Algeria voted in favour of Morocco’s 2026 bid on June 13.
“There is a significant chance that politics will stand in the way – this is a long-term project and the region has a rich history of political animosity,” Max Gallien, a PhD researcher at the London School of Economics specialising in the political economy of North Africa, told Al Jazeera.
“But I think the political will to apply again, and to be successful, is significant and this could genuinely incentivise some cooperation,” Gallien said.
If made official, the three African states face stiff competition from the tripartite Uruguay-Argentina-Paraguay bid that has already been announced last year to commemorate the event’s centenary – first held in Uruguay in 1930 and that saw the host nation claim the coveted trophy.
Other challenges include the countries’ infrastructure and whether these are sufficient to host an event of such scale.
FIFA experts who visited Morocco in the run-up to the June vote expressed mixed feelings about the country’s ability to deliver, noting that, among other concerns, some of the stadiums did not comply with the football world governing body’s standards.
“Any successful proposal will include significant infrastructure investment, much of which will be wasteful and repeat some of the problems that we have seen with similar events in developing countries,” Gallien said.
“However, a joint bid might help to somewhat mitigate some of these issues.”