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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Chirac gives Morocco support
Jacques Chirac
Morocco is one of France's biggest trading partners
France President Jacques Chirac has offered his country's support to Morocco's bid to host the World Cup in 2010.

Morocco - who lost out to France in the bid to host the 1998 competition - are one of five African countries hoping to stage the 2010 tournament.

It is the fourth time the North African country has been in the running - and Mr Chirac promised the full backing of France.

"I'll do everything I can to ensure France helps Morocco organise the next World Cup," Mr Chirac told a news conference on Saturday.

Mr Chirac, who was speaking at the end of a two-day official visit to Morocco, recalled how France beat the north Africans to host the 1998 tournament.

"I would have preferred to win [in 1998] against another country than Morocco so I feel I owe you a sort of debt," he said.

Morocco's facilities, plans and infrastructure are currently being inspected by a Fifa delegation touring the country.

The inspectors will then move to South Africa before visiting Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. A sixth candidate, Nigeria, pulled out of the race last month.

The winner is decided next year.

Fifa visits Morocco
07 Oct 03  |  African
Fifa hears African bids
30 Sep 03  |  African

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