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Morocco to build world’s biggest football stadium

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Spain, Portugal and Morocco are set to host the 2030 World Cup, with the African nation determined not to be left behind in the race to host the final. A new 115,000-seater stadium and problems at the Spanish Federation could see the Bernabeu or Camp Nou overturned as venues.

Morocco have not been shy about seizing the opportunity to dethrone the Spaniards, who are embroiled in a scandal of their own, and snatch a final that everyone had taken for granted would be played on European soil in a mega-stadium.

It is worth noting that last Wednesday the Central Operating Unit (UCO) of the Guardia Civil raided the headquarters of the Royal Spanish Football Federation in search of allegedly irregular contracts from the last five years, a period during which Luis Rubiales was in charge of Spanish football.

While these irregularities do not threaten the organisation of the World Cup, they could have an impact on the staging of the most eagerly awaited match, the FIFA World Cup Final.

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The stadium that Morocco is planning to build for the 2030 World Cup with its neighbours Portugal and Spain is truly astonishing. A capacity for 115,000 spectators is the highlight of the contract awarded to the Cruz y Ortiz architectural firm.

The contract to build what will be “the largest football stadium in the world” has been awarded to an architectural firm led by Spaniards, the very nation that Morocco is hoping to outdo, not least for the honour of having the eyes of the world on its country during the World Cup finals.

In addition to the Spanish architects, the “Moroccan dream” of hosting the finals on home soil will be realised by the British firm Populous, which will design and build the stadium in collaboration with the Franco-Moroccan firm Oulalous+Choi (O+C).

There are just over six years to go until the World Cup, which will take place for the first time on three continents, with matches being played in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first FIFA World Cup, which was held in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo.

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The World Cup 2030 will be a World Cup that will feature matches from in six countries, that Morocco is going for broke with a stadium that will be located 38 kilometres north of Casablanca, on a 100-hectare site in the town of El Mansouria, in the province of Benslimane.

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The stadium will be a large structure under a large canopy roof. The design is inspired by the Moroccan social gathering known as the moussem and has an estimated budget of 5 billion dirhams (around €459 million).

The mega-venue will be the largest in the world, surpassing the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, which will remain the second largest with a seating capacity of 114,000.

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In addition to its huge capacity, the stadium will also feature an athletics track, an indoor swimming pool, a shopping centre and a hotel, fulfilling all the requirements set by FIFA to host this football event, which was watched by 1.5 billion viewers during the last final alone.

Morocco’s largest stadium to date is the Mohamed V in Casablanca (67,000), which will be just over half the size of the new stadium just a few minutes away. The imposing stadium will dwarf Barcelona’s renovated Camp Nou, with a capacity of 105,000, and Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu 84,744).

It will also far exceed the capacity of the Lusail Stadium in Qatar, which on 18 December 2022 hosted 88,966 fans for one of the best and most emotional finals in history between Messi’s Argentina and Mbappé’s France”.

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