Morocco's 2026 World Cup bid leaders have been refused permission to make a final presentation to FIFA's South American voters ahead of the all-important ballot on June 13.
Having already been dealt a serious blow by being rated way behind the heavyweight North American favourites by FIFA's evaluation panel, Morocco are stepping on the gas in a late drive for votes and were hoping to address all six confederations.
Morocco has said it needs to spend nearly $16bn (£12bn) on infrastructure for what will be the first 48-team World Cup, while the North American bid does not require any tournament-specific building work.
For the next 10 days the Moroccans and North Americans will engage in a frantic process of trying to secure votes from the 207 FIFA member associations voting at the FIFA Congress.More news: Meghan Markle's Plus-Size Doppelganger Leaves Internet in Awe
A difference in projected ticket sales of United States dollars 1.3 billion between the two bids helped lead the report to note "significantly higher" forecast revenue of USD14.3 billion from North Americans and USD 7.2 billion from Morocco.
Head of Morocco's campaign bid, Moulay Hafid El Alamy, had previously expressed concern that Infantino may favor the joint North American bid.
But Infantino's support for a 48-team World Cup is not in doubt.
"I think a joint bid is important and it is three places where football runs deep".
Infantino told reporters from news agencies that it was premature to talk of a 48-team tournament in Qatar, which he stressed would have to be consulted first, and said he had no idea whether Iran could be a co-host.More news: Toyota Motor to invest US$1 billion in ride-hailing firm Grab
No part of North America's proposals was called high risk and Federation Internationale de Football Association said it "has a clear lead" to advance the governing body's mission to "push new boundaries in terms of sports-related technology and engagement" since stadiums and hotels already exist. "Whether this is possible only in Qatar is a question mark and this should be looked into".
Any consultation on the 2022 World Cup must reach a decision by FIFA's June 2019 congress, he said.
Infantino defended his decision to consider a $25 billion offer from unnamed investors for two new tournaments - a revamped version of the Club World Cup and a global Nations League for national teams. "I have never seen a country that has done so much for the welcoming of fans as Russian Federation is doing".
"I can not disclose (details) in that $25 billion", said Infantino who was not concerned about which country the investment originated from.
In appeals for votes last month, President Donald Trump said he would be "watching very closely" and issued a veiled threat to withhold United States support from countries opposing the North American bid.More news: Ivanka Trump tweets Chinese proverb believed to be American