Newly-elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino denies promising the 2026 World Cup to the United States and expects bidding to start in the upcoming months, reports BBC’s Richard Conway.
U.S. Soccer Federation head Sunil Gulati changed his vote in the second round of last week’s presidential election to Infantino. Gulati had previously endorsed Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan.
The new president was asked whether he promised the future tournament to the United States.
“No, certainly not,” Infantino said.
Bidding for the 2026 World Cup was shelved until 2016 as the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar, became part of an ongoing Swiss criminal investigation.
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is serving a six-year suspension from the sport, previously suggested an agreement in place for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup before votes were cast.
“Seriously, first is the reforms,” Infantino told reporters. “So I will go up to the office and start looking at how to implement these reforms so that we can hopefully very soon concentrate on football,” he added.
Under the new reforms, Infantino will not be able to serve more than three four-year terms. Other changes include salary disclosures and the election of one female council member per confederation. The changes are geared to separate FIFA’s policy decision-making from its business practices