Architects Cruz y Ortiz reveal stadium design for Morocco's 2026 World Cup bid
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Architects Cruz y Ortiz reveal stadium design for Morocco's 2026 World Cup bid

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Spanish architecture firm Cruz y Ortiz have designed a 90,000-capacity football stadium as the centrepiece of Morocco’s bid for the 2026 World Cup.

The members of football’s world governing body, FIFA, meet tomorrow (13 June) in Moscow decide who will host the tournament in eight year’s time: Morocco or the US, Mexico and Canada.

If the former wins the vote, Cruz y Ortiz’s stadium will be constructed in Casablanca, and will host the opening match and the final of the World Cup.

In a design statement, the architects said: The large capacity of spectators determines the circular shape of the perimeter. The circle is the geometry that maximizes the stands' surface area and ensures the spectator’s view of the field does not exceed 190 meters.

"The challenge of covering a stadium of these dimensions becomes an opportunity to make the roof the element that defines the image of the building. A large self-supporting roof of cables and tensioned membranes is proposed."

The practice have designed football grounds in China and Switzerland, but are best-known for their recently-completed Wanda Metropolitano for Spanish La Liga side Atletico Madrid. Rather than building a new stadium from scratch, they were tasked with renovating and expanding the Estadio Olímpico de Madrid – a small athletics venue built in 1994 – to create one of the most technologically-advanced stadiums in Europe.

Tomorrow’s vote is finely poised. The US president, Donald Trump, was criticised last month for effectively threatening to cut aid and other forms of support to countries which are prepared to support the Moroccan bid – which, in Trump's view, constitutes to opposing the joint North American bid.

His threats relating to the Moroccan bid haven’t gone down well with African member nations of FIFA – who could ultimately decide the winner of the bid for the 2026 tournament due to the number of votes they hold.

Trump's interference in the bid has also fallen foul of FIFA, which has – in response to the president's rhetoric – repeatedly referenced its bid rules, which prohibit "political activities" that can have "undue influence on the bidding process".

Meanwhile, the 2018 World Cup in Russia kicks off on Thursday (14 June) with the host nation taking on Saudi Arabia at the 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which has reopened following development work.

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Spanish architecture firm Cruz y Ortiz have designed a 90,000-capacity football stadium as the centrepiece of Morocco’s bid for the 2026 World Cup.
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