How to cancel a World Cup

Wed Jun 3, 2015 11:29am EDT
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By Tom Bergin and Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - It has never been done before and no defined procedure for doing it exists but, in theory, withdrawing the right to host a World Cup from a host nation should be an easy thing to do.

Football has been in turmoil since a series of arrests last week of officials from the world governing body FIFA on U.S. Department of Justice allegations of bribery.

Swiss prosecutors have also announced their own criminal investigation into the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

The scandal has prompted calls for FIFA to re-examine the awards – something that Qatar and Russia have firmly resisted.

The only other occasion on which a men’s World Cup was moved was when Colombia opted out of hosting the 1986 tournament but in that case, it withdrew citing economic problems.

"We’re in uncharted waters," said one former senior FIFA official.

But the former official said it was possible for a country to lose the right to host the tournament.

According to Article 85 of FIFA's statutes, which deals with "unforeseen circumstances and force majeure", the organization's Executive Committee has the "final decision on any matters not provided for in these Statutes".   Continued...

FIFA president Sepp Blatter (R) hands over a copy of the World Cup to Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani after the announcement that Qatar is going to be host nation for the FIFA World Cup 2022, in Zurich December 2, 2010.        REUTERS/Christian Hartmann