Morocco will host both the 2013 and 2014 FIFA Club World Cups.
Iran, South Africa and the U.A.E. all withdrew their bids, leaving FIFA to bring the competition to Africa for the first time. The hosting is set to be rubber-stamped in Zurich in December.
The North African nation has a strong soccer tradition, and the national team memorably became the first African nation to win a group in the World Cup Finals, topping England, Portugal and Poland at Mexico '86, before losing to a late Lothar Matthaus goal from eventual finalists West Germany in the next round.
Morocco will also host the 2015 African Cup of Nations, whose centerpiece will be the new 80,000-seat Grand Stade de Casablanca. Their current national team boasts QPR's mercurial midfielder Adel Taraabt and Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh.
The 2011 edition of the Club World Cup, featuring Barcelona (Spain), Santos (Brazil), Monterrey (Mexico), Auckland City (New Zealand), a representative from Asia and one from Africa, as well as Japan's A-League champions, takes place in the land of the rising sun between the 8th and 18th of December this year, with the final in Yokohama.
European clubs have won the cup the past four years (Milan, Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter), following three consecutive Brazilian triumphs from 2005 to 2007 (Corinthians, Sao Paolo and Internacional).
Next year's tournament will also take place in Japan.
(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile
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