The Fifa World Cup trophy. Photo: AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

ZURICH, Switzerland – The choice of venue for the Fifa World Cup 2026 will took another step forward on Wednesday as bid inspectors from world football's governing body met with the two candidates.

Officials from the joint United States-Canada-Mexico team and Morocco are In Zurich to answer questions from a Fifa panel which will be deciding on the merits of the two bidders ahead of the June 13 vote. 

Fifa has confirmed that there is no set time that these evaluation reports will be made public ahead of the vote by up to 207 member federations in Moscow.

Following criticism of the 2018-2022 voting, Fifa has introduced a more vigilant assessment system as it was learnt that some executive committee members ignored technical reports which identified eventual winners Russia and Qatar as the highest-risk options among nine candidates.

At this stage, it seems as though the North American venues hold the upper hand. Everything is in place for a 48-team, 80-game tournament while Morocco’s bid is trailing.

The country still has to build or renovate 14 stadiums and more than 100 training bases.

The Fifa panel made a three-day visit to both bidders’ projects in April, and Morocco was visited a second time to clarify more details.

A second visit had to be conducted as the inspectors "noticed some deviations from the initially planned programme" during the first trip to the African country.

Both candidates must be formally approved by Fifa’s ruling council at a June 10 meeting in Moscow to get on the ballot paper.

The Fifa Task Force has inspected the two candidates and has the power to exclude either bid if they do not meet their requirements.

Another inspection of the joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico was not deemed necessary and the United States 2026 bid remains the favourite to stage the World Cup.

African News Agency (ANA)

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