Valcke confirmed the 2026 World Cup bidding news on a visit to Samara. FIFA official and Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko pictured to right of FIFA No.2 (Russia 2018)

(WFI) FIFA has postponed the 2026 World Cup bidding process amid the growing corruption scandal engulfing world football’s governing body.

Secretary general Jerome Valcke told a news conference in Samara, Russia that the bidding process had been suspended.

According to reports, he said it was a “nonsense” to launch the process amid FIFA’s current crisis. Separate corruption investigations are being conducted by the FBI and Swiss authorities into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

The FBI is also continuing its probe into a 24-year bribery scheme that led the US indictment of 14 FIFA and marketing officials two weeks ago.

FIFA was due to set out the bidding timetable and rules this week. It recently announced that the 209 member associations would vote to select a 2026 host country in May 2017 at the FIFA Congress in Kuala Lumpur. That plan is now scrapped.
The USA, Mexico and Canada have been mentioned as possible candidates.

Speaking at a press conference in Samara, one of the Russia 2018 host cities, Valcke also hit back at claims that he was involved in helping to facilitate a $10 million payment – an alleged bribe say US prosecutors – from South Africa to a Caribbean Football Union bank account controlled by disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.

The South African government denies the bribery allegation, saying it was a legacy fund for the development of Caribbean football.

“It was not FIFA’s money. It was a request from official South African authorities and the South African Football Association (SAFA). As long as it is in line with rules we do it,” Valcke told reporters according to the BBC.

“I don’t understand what’s the problem and why I am such a target in this question.”

After Sepp Blatter’s decision to step down as FIFA president amid the growing corruption scandal, Valcke is facing scrutiny about his own future.

“You [the media] have decided that after Blatter I am the head to be cut, fine, but don’t say it is because of this $10m,” he said.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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