KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Germany has become the first major football federation to go public in support of Morocco’s right for its 2026 World Cup bid to be judged definitively by FIFA Congress and not its controversial evaluation task force.
A call for clarity was issued by DFB president Reinhard Grindel as further confusion swirled around the process with claims that FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura had been reported to the ethics committee.
Samoura’s ‘crime’ is apparently to have the same family Diouf name as the former international who is an ambassador for the Morocco bid. The complaint was reported by the BBC without stating which individual or body lodged it.
More significant was the intervention of Grindel, the German politician who joined FIFA Council only last year but whose independent mind and spirit has put to shame many of his much longer-serving colleagues.
The Moroccans, in their 2026 bidding duel with the United States plus Canada and Mexico, have complained long and loud about what they perceive to be a FIFA-centred bias in face of their rivals. The aim has been to embarrass the five-man evaluation task force into clearing the bid for the decisive vote in congress in Moscow on June 13.
Grindel, in answer to a question from the Associated Press agency, signalled that the Moroccan tactic is having an effect at high level.
He said: “If there are only two [candidates] then congress must have the chance to vote. We don’t need any rumours in such a process.
“I think the task force must give a very clear report and must give all the (voters) a clear statement which bid is perhaps better. Otherwise each federation should have to explain why they are voting for a bidder who is not in the eyes of the experts able to host such a World Cup.”
FIFA rebuilt the bidding process after the scandals surrounding the awards by the old executive committee in 2010 to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022. Under the new system congress should vote on bids analysed by the task force and approved by the 36-strong FIFA Council.
However the Moroccans, supported by the African confederation and its president Ahmad, have complained that FIFA appeared to have been changing the rules along the way in an attempt to exclude their bid from consideration.
This appears to be behind the mystery attempt to undermine the status and role of Samoura, the former United Nations officer who was FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s surprise pick as secretary-general in 2016.
A complaint to the ethics committee does not automatically lead to an inquiry.