Zurich - FIFA announced on Wednesday it had suspended the bidding process to
host the 2026 World Cup amid the furore surrounding corruption probes at
"It was decided to place the administrative
process on hold for the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding due to the current
situation," a FIFA statement said.
"Further decisions regarding
the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding process will be discussed by the FIFA
Executive Committee at a later date."
FIFA secretary general
Jerome Valcke had announced in March that the host country for the 2026
tournament would be decided at a FIFA congress in the Malaysian capital
Kuala Lumpur in 2017.
But football's world governing body was then
plunged into a crisis at the end of last month when 14 current or
former FIFA officials and sports marketing executives were charged in
Zurich, Switzerland as part of an investigation into alleged corruption
by US authorities.
The fallout led to the resignation last week of
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, but his replacement will not be known
until December at the earliest, leaving the organisation in limbo in the
"Due to the situation, I think it's nonsense to start
any bidding process for the time being. It will be postponed," Valcke
said at a news conference in the Russian 2018 World Cup host city of
Samara on Wednesday after meeting local officials for a scheduled check
on preparations there.
Speaking at a press conference in Paris
exactly a year before the start of Euro 2016, UEFA president Michel
Platini admitted the news did not come as a surprise.
"There was due to be a vote in 2017 but there is no leadership at FIFA so it's a good thing," said Platini.
United States, Canada, Mexico and Morocco are among the countries to
have expressed some interest in hosting the 2026 tournament, while
Kazakhstan said in March that they were examining the possibility of
Later Wednesday, FIFA said that computer information from
their Zurich headquarters had been handed over to Swiss justice
"FIFA today provided, as planned, data requested by the attorney general," said a spokesman for the global football body.
BBC claimed that documents were seized from the offices of Blatter,
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and chief financial officer Markus
But Swiss prosecutors refused to reveal the identity of the individuals involved.
Wolfgang Niersbach, the president of the German Football Association
(DFB) who has been a long-time critic of Blatter, used an open letter to
German clubs and association members to call for a successor to be
"With all due respect for his life's work, Sepp
Blatter does himself, and football as a whole, no favours by drawing out
his resignation," Niersbach wrote.
"A new president must be chosen quickly at an extraordinary congress to represent a compelling new beginning."
who insisted "everything was correct" when Germany was awarded the 2006
World Cup, also used his letter to call for "a comprehensive reform" of
"It must be our common goal to prevent unscrupulous people
being enriched at the expense of football and tighter cash flows are
needed," he added.
decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Qatar and Russia
respectively is currently the subject of a probe by Swiss authorities as
part of a far-reaching corruption scandal that has also raised
questions about the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
backed Russia's right to host the 2018 finals, saying the country "has
won the right...honestly and one must be crazy to say that all hosting
rights were bought.
"Overall the preparations for the 2017
Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup as well as our first major
event, the Preliminary Draw, are well underway and on schedule," added
Valcke, state news agency TASS reported in English.
"The World Cups need protection. It's the basis of FIFA activity."
draw for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers will take place in St Petersburg
at the end of July, while preparations are ongoing for the finals, with
matches to be played in 11 cities across the vast country.
is carrying out its duties to prepare for the World Cup with all
diligence," the country's sports minister Vitaly Mutko said.
"We took no notice of the politics, we just pragmatically continue our preparations.
meeting took place during hard times for FIFA. It's a big challenge but
FIFA is a strong organisation, which develops football and possesses the
world's most popular event - the World Cup.
"Anything can happen within the big family. But we all shall unite to overcome these problems."