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Morocco Emerging as Strong Candidate to Host 2010 World Cup - 2004-02-10

Morocco seems to have emerged as a strong candidate to host football's (soccer's) World Cup finals in 2010.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI hired banker Saad Kettani to lead Morocco's bid, and funding is in place. About $180 million towards organizational costs has been deposited into a Swiss bank and three new stadiums are already under construction. In addition to Kettani, Alan Rothenberg is part of the team to help bring the World Cup to Morocco. He led the group that organized the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

If Morocco is chosen, it would be the first African country to host football's premier event. South Africa may also be a frontrunner, while Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are also being considered as hosts.

Morocco is bidding for the fourth time, and South Africa lost out to Germany by just one vote for the 2006 World Cup.

Football's governing body, FIFA, will make its decision on May 15 in Zurich.

The stakes are high because FIFA has a rotation policy among the continents to host the World Cup, meaning Africa would not be eligible again until 2030. But the rotation policy may be reviewed by FIFA.

Some information for this report provided by AP.