(CNN)FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said Wednesday that FIFA would “postpone” the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup, as investigations continue into allegations that bribery helped determine the hosts of earlier World Cups.
World soccer’s governing body had expected to allocate the 2026 tournament to a host nation in 2017, with the bidding process to start soon, Valcke said, but in the current situation, it’s “nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being.”
FIFA said Monday that there are no legal grounds for it to take the 2018 World Cup from Russia or the 2022 event from Qatar.
Speaking to reporters while on a visit to Russia on Wednesday, Valcke said preparations for hosting the 2018 World Cup were “on track.”
Top Russian official: We feel no threat to our World Cup
FIFA has been embroiled in scandal since the United States indicted 14 people, including nine top FIFA officials, on corruption charges last month. Swiss authorities simultaneously opened a separate investigation into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cup were awarded.
The U.S. indictment accuses Jack Warner, FIFA’s former vice president and a member of parliament in Trinidad and Tobago, of taking a $10 million bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup. The indictment says South Africa was willing to pay $10 million to the Caribbean Football Union “to support the African diaspora” in exchange for Warner’s and two other conspirators’ votes to put the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, instead of Morocco. The South African bid committee has denied any impropriety in the payment.
Valcke: ‘It was not FIFA’s money’
Valcke also strenuously denied any wrongdoing in connection with the $10 million payment.
He said Wednesday that he had signed off on the transfer of funds from South Africa to the Caribbean Football Union, as it was in line with the rules, but that the money was not FIFA’s and that the global body could not control how its members dealt with funds.
“Why is it FIFA who has to explain the misuse of the money? It was not FIFA’s money. We have nothing to do with this money. I have no more answer about this case,” he said.
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