Bidding for 2026 World Cup to be postponed: FIFA official

Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:09am EDT
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By Gabriela Baczynska

SAMARA, Russia (Reuters) - FIFA will postpone the start of bidding for the right to host the 2026 World Cup following the launch of a corruption investigation, a senior official in soccer's governing body said on Wednesday.

"Due to the situation, I think it's nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being. It will be postponed," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told a news conference in the southern Russian city of Samara.

The decision on who hosts the 2026 finals had been due to be made in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.

The FBI are investigating bribery and corruption at FIFA, including scrutiny of how soccer's governing body awarded World Cup hosting rights to Russia, which won the bidding for 2018, and Qatar, which is due to host the finals in 2022.

Valcke was visiting Samara, one of the host venues, to see how preparations are going for the 2018 finals.

Despite investigations into the bidding process involving Russia and Qatar, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said he saw no threat to Moscow's successful bid. He reiterated that it had been in line with the rules, as did Valcke.

As secretary general of FIFA since 2007, and as FIFA President Sepp Blatter's lieutenant, Valcke is seen as one of the most powerful men in world sport.