FIFA Suspends 2026 World Cup Bidding Process Amid Corruption Allegations
According an official, FIFA has suspended bidding for the 2026 World Cup amid corruption allegations that have bogged down the governing body of the world's most popular sport. At a Wednesday news conference, Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said the organization would "postpone" the bidding as it was "nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being." Investigations are continuing as to whether FIFA officials accepted bribes over decades, particularly during bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups set to be held in Russia and Qatar, respectively.
A host nation for the 2026 World Cup was set to be decided by 2017. Countries vying for the tournament included the United States, Mexico, Canada, and a number of European countries. The process would not restart, Valcke said, but rather continue after the postponement.
The FIFA scandal erupted last month after several officials were arrested and indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on corruption charges, which included taking more than $150 million in bribes. After winning his fifth term days after the scandal broke, FIFA's longtime president Sepp Blatter stepped down. One of 14 men named in the indictment, former vice president Jack Warner has threatened to spill secrets on the organization and Blatter, who has denied any involvement in corrupt deals.