FIFA insists that despite the corruption arrests of more than a dozen officials and businessmen associated with the group, Russia and Qatar will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as planned.
Allegations of deep and widespread corruption surround the process by which both nations won the bid to host the quadrennial event. Though FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio intimated that the arrests involved malfeasance related to the 2018 and 2022 bids, the FBI cites bribes surrounding 2016’s Copa America tournament.
“No,” FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said at a press conference held just five hours after the early-morning Zurich raids. “I can say what the president said in the past press conference. The World Cup 2018 and 2022 will be played in Russia and Qatar.”
De Gregorio’s unwavering rejection of the idea of moving the event morphed into an answer that left room for the possibility of a relocation.
“What you expect from us?” De Gregorio asked reporters in Zurich. “That we start to speculate and say, ‘Well, Maybe Russia, Qatar—we have to redo the voting. Russia and Qatar will be played. This is what is fact today. I don’t go into speculation on what will happen tomorrow, and tomorrow.”