The South African Football Association has backtracked on earlier comments from its president, Danny Jordaan, that it will support Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid.
The North African country is up against a joint-bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada to host the showpiece event in eight years’ time, and Jordaan has previously stated his support for the Moroccan cause.
But a statement released by SAFA indicated that any decision on whom to support must be taken by its National Executive Committee.
According to Timeslive, the South African government also revealed they will not support Morocco’s bid.
“We are very clear that we can’t support Morocco‚” said Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa.
“Our parliament was very straightforward in this regard‚ it is the mandate of the country and it is an obligation for sporting bodies to understand what the country’s agenda is.”
The two countries have had strained relations since Morocco withdrew its ambassador from Pretoria in 2004 when South Africa recognised the independence of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic‚ also known as the Western Sahara.
Further complicating matters is that Morocco famously lost the right to host the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, with allegations of vote-rigging rife after the FIFA corruption scandal broke in 2015.