The Latest: FIFA Council approves bids for World Cup vote

The Latest: FIFA Council approves bids for World Cup vote
The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the FIFA meetings ahead of the World Cup in Russia (all times local):

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4:50 p.m.

FIFA has formally let both 2026 World Cup host candidates go on the ballot paper for Wednesday’s vote.

Morocco and the joint United States-Canada-Mexico bid were expected to advance with the FIFA Council’s approval Sunday.

A FIFA panel evaluating both bids could disqualify any bid that scored too low in key areas such as stadiums and hotels.

Morocco scored 2.7 overall on a 0-to-5 scale in the panel’s reports — above the minimum 2 required.

The North American bid scored 4 overall, and got the only 5 mark for its projected sales of tickets and corporate hospitality deals.

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4:45 p.m.

Talks on exploring a 48-team World Cup in 2022 have been taken off the agenda at FIFA’s annual congress Wednesday.

FIFA says a request to start a feasibility study into adding 16 teams to the Qatar-hosted tournament has been withdrawn by South American body CONMEBOL.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino says his staff will continue talks with Qatar about potential expansion.

Infantino has been enthusiastic about seeking agreement for an expanded event.

A 48-team World Cup would require extra stadiums and could lead to Qatar sharing hosting duties with Middle East neighbors.

Qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup are likely to begin in early 2019.

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