The winner of the 2026 FIFA World Cup site selection process wasn’t expected to be announced until 2017. Now, it might take even longer. Soccer America Daily reports that in the wake of FIFA's mounting crisis, the bid process for the 2026 World Cup has been suspended.
The USA is considered the favorite – but don’t look for an announcement (any announcement) any time soon.
"Due to the situation," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Wednesday during a 2018 World Cup meeting in Russia, "I think it's nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being."
There are any number of reasons to halt the process; chief among those is the fact that FIFA is seeking a new president to replace Sepp Blatter and looking to implement new reform measures.
In the recent scandals, American Chuck Blazer, a former executive committee member, admitted to taking bribes in the 1998 and 2010 World Cup bid races. U.S. and Swiss authorities are investigating the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) World Cup bid campaigns, both decided in December 2010.
Valcke has been linked to a scheme by which South Africa is accused of paying $10 million to indicted Jack Warner, then serving on FIFA's executive office, in return for the three Concacaf votes that swung the 2010 vote to South Africa over Morocco.
FIFA plans to have all 209 members vote on the 2026 World Cup.
Less than two weeks ago, Blatter confirmed the bidding rules for 2026: only Asian countries will not be allowed to bid World Cup. The United States is expected to submit a bid in a campaign that was scheduled to conclude with the selection of the host at the 2017 FIFA Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Despite announcements that preparations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are underway, the recent turmoil has many wondering whether new location decisions will be made.
FIFA's World Cup slogan is "For the Game. For the World." Now, it looks like both the game and the world will have to wait.