A scandal-ridden FIFA suspends bidding for the 2026 World Cup

Image: AP/Manu Fernandez
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The process for deciding which country will host the 2026 World Cup was supposed to get underway soon, with the United States, Mexico, and Canada among the expected bidders. A decision was supposed to be made by May 2017, but that deadline is now in doubt, after FIFA was forced to halt the bidding process while it deals with the biggest corruption scandal in its history.

At a press conference in Russia today, FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke did not specify a new timeline for the 2026 bidding, saying only that it would be “nonsense” to begin the bidding now. Russia, which is set to host the 2018 cup, and Qatar, which is due to host in 2022, are embroiled in the controversy about payments made to FIFA officials by countries seeking to secure hosting rights. FIFA’s controversial decisions to award the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar may be reversed if an investigation uncovers evidence that any bribes were paid.

In any case, FIFA members have a much more pressing decision than deciding the location of a football tournament that is still 11 years away: the December election of a new president to replace Sepp Blatter, who was forced to resign last week.