FIFA suspends 2026 World Cup bidding amid corruption scandal

FIFA has suspended the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup. The football organization is weathering the storm of a widening corruption scandal that touches on previous selections of host countries.

"Due to the situation, I think it's nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being. It will be postponed," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told a news conference in the southern Russian city of Samara.

Potential bidders for 2026 include the US, Mexico, Canada and several European countries. Valcke said the process would not be started anew, it was merely suspended.

The host for the tornament is expected to be chosen by the 209 FIFA members in May 2017 at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Details of the new timetable and rules will be sent to member states soon, Valcke said.

Samara is one of the World Cup 2018 host venues. Valcke was visiting the city to see how preparations for the finals are going.

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FIFA has been mired by a scandal over alleged bribe taking and other forms of corruption. Valcke himself is connected to this.

Earlier, the BBC published documents allegedly incriminating former FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner of misappropriating $10 million. Warner is among the football executives who were arrested in Zurich in May. US prosecutors alleged the money was paid as a bribe by South Africa to promote its 2010 World Cup bid.

Valcke, who signed the transfer documents shown by the British broadcaster, said he has nothing to answer for.

“If you think I am the next person after [ex FIFA President Sepp] Blatter, I say there is nothing to blame me for,” he said. “Don’t blame us for the fact that the transfer happened. Yes, my [signature] was on it. The question is why nobody asked about it at the time. Why should FIFA be responsible for that misappropriation case? That was not FIFA money.”

Blatter was re-elected FIFA president on May 29 amid the unfolding scandal, only to resign his position several days later.

He retains the position of acting president until a new election is conducted at an extraordinary FIFA Congress.