You may have heard that the United States-Mexico-Canada joint bid for the World Cup in 2026 is only contested by Morocco. On Monday, Morocco launched its website for the bid, Morocco26.com, and it does not hold back in terms of making its case, but also taking plenty of shots at the United bid. It highlights short travel times for all the European countries, the same time zone as most of Europe, short travel across the nation, and the stadiums that Morocco will invest to make. It also highlights a low murder rate in the country and “very low gun circulation,“ which is a pretty low blow at the US considering some recent events. While the North American bid has infrastructure already in place, Morocco has to invest over $15 billion for stadiums and other infrastructure. The website is worth a look, because outside of the glaring issue of infrastructure and that Morocco brings up “profit for FIFA“ when competing with the biggest market in the world, Morocco has its ducks in a row for this bid.
Starting next season, UEFA has eliminated the rule that would make players “cup-tied“ if they have already featured for another club in a European competition that season. The prime examples of this are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was signed by Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January, and Philippe Coutinho, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool. Under the relaxed rule, both would be allowed to play for their new clubs despite already featuring in a European Tournament for another team. The official rule now lets clubs register three new players “without restrictions“ after the group stages. In addition, teams can now have 12 subs on the bench in the Final of the Champions League, Europa League, and Super Cup, instead of the previous seven. A fourth substitute will also be allowed in extra time.
The European Club Association has called for “mandatory rest periods for players“ and a speedier process to determine violations of Financial Fair Play laws. The call for the calendar to be restructured starting in 2024 includes breaks for players and a standardization of some confederations’ championships, since the African Cup of Nations and Gold Cup are every two years while the Asian, European, and South American Cups are every four years. Many members of the ECA are also not happy that Paris Saint-Germain was able to spend the amount of money they did on Neymar, as well as securing Kylian Mbappe, and want a quicker process to find potential violations of Financial Fair Play. Right now, UEFA has to wait for clubs to publish their annual accounts, and the ECA called for a maximum net transfer spend and a debt ratio that would trigger a quicker investigation.
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