FIFA Suspend Bidding For 2026 World Cup Amid Corruption Scandal
FIFA postponed the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup in light of the ongoing investigations into awarding the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar.
The United States, Mexico and Canada were thought to be interested in bidding for the 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 relating to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The investigations come on the heels of the U.S. Department of Justice indicting 14 people and accusing them of decades of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption by members of world soccer’s governing body.
There have been calls for FIFA to strip Russia and Qatar of their hosting duties, but FIFA says they have “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 wrongdoing.