FIFA postpones bidding process for 2026 World Cup
FIFA has postponed the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup in light of the ongoing investigations into the organization's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar.
The United States, Mexico and Canada were thought to be interested in bidding for the 2026 World Cup.
The 2026 host is expected to be chosen by the 209 member federations at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May 2017.
“Further decisions regarding the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding process will be discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee at a later date,” a FIFA statement said.
"Due to the situation, I think it's nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being,” FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke added.
Valcke again defended the handling of a $10 million payment to a Caribbean Football Union account controlled by former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.
“It was not FIFA’s money, it was a request from official South African authorities and SAFA,” Valcke said, according to the Guardian. “As long as it is in line with rules we do it. I don’t understand what’s the problem and why I am such a target in this question. You [the media] have decided that after Blatter I am the head to be cut, fine, but don’t say it is because of this $10 million.”
Swiss prosecutors and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened separate criminal proceedings related to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The investigations coincide with the U.S. Department of Justice's indictment of 14 soccer officials accused of decades of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption.
There have been calls for FIFA to strip Russia and Qatar of their hosting duties for 2018 and 2022, but FIFA says it has “no legal grounds” to do that.
FIFA commissioned an investigation last year that looked into the bidding process of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The report cleared both countries of any serious wrongdoing.
- Scooby Axson