FIFA halted the process for 2026 bids as the organization undergoes a leadership overhaul.
“It was decided to place the administrative process on hold for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ bidding due to the current situation,” FIFA wrote in a statement. “Further decisions regarding the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding process will be discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee at a later date.”
Only Mexico and Canada announced intent to place bids for the 2026 World Cup. The United States and various European countries expressed interest as well, but never made a formal announcement. Canada currently hosts the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke made the announcement after officials met with organizers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He called it “nonsense” to proceed with the 2026 World Cup. He is one of the many FIFA leaders under investigation by the United States Department of Justice. U.S. officials claim he allegedly pushed the $10 million bribe to former vice president Jack Warner.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his resignation, effective upon the election of a successor, only three days after he won a fifth term in office. After the investigation exploded, Blatter insisted he was not going anywhere. But when announced his resignation, ABC News revealed he is also under an FBI investigation.
Media raised questions if Russia and Qatar would lose their bids once Blatter no longer held office. Despite the scandal and implications the countries bribed officials for their bids, FIFA said there are “no legal grounds” to strip the countries of the World Cup.
“Overall the preparations for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup as well as our first major event, the preliminary draw, are well underway and on schedule,” announced Valcke from Russia.
Vitaly Mutko, the top organizer for Russia, expressed confidence about the tournament after he met with FIFA officials.
“Here, in Samara, we made certain again that Russia is ready to present the wonderful gift to the rest of the world — 2018 FIFA World Cup,” he exclaimed. “So as St. Petersburg, one of the beautiful cities of Russia, is ready to host the first official event of 2018 FIFA World Cup, the preliminary draw. We as a host country continue to fulfil our obligations to prepare all the events and projects of 2018 FIFA World Cup in time, we are well on track and on schedule.
“There’s no doubt all the events of 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will go through at top level.”