Morocco labelled 'high risk' for World Cup 2026 as North American bid remains favourite

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The United bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States has outscored Morocco in FIFA’s 2026 World Cup evaluation report, with the latter branded ‘high risk’ in three areas.

Both bids to host the 48-team 2026 global showpiece have been approved by FIFA’s ‘bid evaluation task force’, the world governing body confirmed on Friday evening, with a final choice – assuming both bids are signed off by the FIFA Council – now set to be made by all of the member associations at the pre-World Cup Congress in Moscow on June 13.

The American-led United bid received an overall score of four out of five, while Morocco’s got 2.7 despite being graded ‘high risk’ for stadiums, accommodation and transport. No part of the American bid was considered ‘high risk’.

The United bid had been regarded as the hot favourite, thanks to its near guarantee of commercial success, choice of world-class venues and the opportunity to grow the game in the world’s richest market, although Morocco has gained ground of late and remains in with a chance of springing an upset after doing enough to convince FIFA its bid is viable.

The five-strong task force – which includes the chairmen of FIFA’s audit and governance committees, as well as former Croatia and AC Milan star Zvonimir Boban, now FIFA’s deputy general secretary – visited both bids to check on proposed venues, meet the bidding committees and clarify technical details.

FIFA’s assessment found that, in Morocco, “a significant number of stadiums still have to be built, with major reconstruction/renovation work also necessary for those that do exist”.

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Steven Gerrard itching to get started at Rangers as he takes first step into management

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Steven Gerrard is raring to go at Rangers.

New Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is itching to get started in Glasgow as he prepares to officially begin his first job in management.

The former Liverpool and England midfielder begins his role at Ibrox on Friday after being unveiled at the start of the month.

Gerrard has already been busy since accepting the role, with Scott Arfield, Jamie Murphy and Allan McGregor signing permanent deals with the club, and the former Liverpool youth coach cannot wait to get started ahead of pre-season, which starts in less than three weeks.

“June 1 is the day I have been waiting for and I am absolutely desperate to get started officially in my role as the manager of Rangers Football Club,” he told the club website. “Just saying that excites and motivates me so much.

“Although the players won’t report back from their breaks until in the month I am looking forward to meeting them and also welcoming some new faces to this fantastic club.

“Along with Mark (Allen) and my backroom team we have already been working on our plans and strategy for the new season.

“We know what we want to achieve and we also know what will be required to meet the challenges ahead, but we will be ready.

“Over the next week or so, I will be engaged in work and activities outwith Auchenhowie which I hope will be to the benefit of the club.

“We will also be putting the final pieces in place for our pre-season training camp in Spain.”

He added: “Having already taken the opportunity to assess our Auchenhowie base and also facilities at Ibrox, we are focusing now on being ready for our first real challenge, a Europa League qualifying tie in early July.

“Everything we do will be for them. It’s time now… let’s go.”

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New Derby manager Frank Lampard open to possibility of signing John Terry

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Frank Lampard and John Terry played together at Chelsea

Frank Lampard refused to rule out a move for old Chelsea team-mate John Terry after he was appointed Derby manager.

The 39-year-old has joined the Rams on a three-year deal to start his management career.

Terry, who won three Premier League titles with Lampard at Chelsea, is available after confirming he will leave Aston Villa this summer.

Terry’s contract expired at Villa Park and he has decided not to stay after their 1-0 Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham.

But, while Lampard refused to commit, he remained coy over the possibility of a reunion with Terry.

He said: “I haven’t spoken to John, I got a message this morning. At the moment he’s in Greece on holiday.

“There are conversations ongoing across the board, that isn’t one of them. These conversations start now. John’s had a great career but we’ll concentrate on what we want to do here.”

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