World Cup 2026: Bidding Process Suspended Amid FIFA Corruption Scandal
The 2026 World Cup bidding process has been delayed amid corruption allegations around the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
According to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, it was “a nonsense” to begin the process in the current climate.
The vote to decide who will host the 2026 World Cup is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur in May 2017.
The US is front-runner to stage the tournament, but Canada, Mexico and Colombia are also thought to be interested.
Russia and Qatar were selected to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups by a secret ballot of FIFA’s 22 executive members in December 2010.
Meanwhile Swiss prosecutors are investigating alleged financial irregularities surrounding the bidding process. Both Russia and Qatar have denied any wrongdoing.
Soccer’s world governing body had planned to inform its member federations this week of the bidding schedule for 2026, but Jerome Valcke said: “Due to the situation, I think it’s nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being.”
Speaking in the Russian city of Samara, Jerome Valcke also defended FIFA’s handling of a $10 million payment from the South African government towards a Caribbean Diaspora legacy program.
US prosecutors allege the payment was a bribe to help secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.
The South African government insists it was a legitimate payment to promote Caribbean football.
Jerome Valcke said: “It was not FIFA’s money. It was a request from official South African authorities and the South African Football Association (SAFA). 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.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has announced he will step down from his role, amid the ongoing allegations of corruption in the governing body, including the indictment of 14 people on corruption charges by US authorities.
Sepp Blatter is expected to be replaced at an election on December 16.
When faced with questions over his own future, Jerome Valcke said: “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.”