The bidding process for determining which nation will get the right to host the 2026 World Cup tournament has been suspended by the organization that governs global soccer competition. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, more popularly known as FIFA, put the highly competitive process on hold because of the corruption scandal in which it is currently embroiled, according to a statement released Wednesday morning.
“It was decided to place the administrative process on hold for the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding due to the current situation,” the statement read. “Further decisions regarding the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding process will be discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee at a later date.”
FIFA is expected to name the host country by 2017, and bidding was scheduled for the short-term future, but it is “nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being,” FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said Wednesday, according to CNN.
Depending on how long the postponement goes on, the 2026 host nation could still be chosen during the planned May 2017 FIFA meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ESPN reported. Potential locations that remained in the running for hosting rights include Canada, Mexico, the U.S. and various European countries.
The decision to postpone the bidding process comes about two weeks after 14 current and former international soccer executives were indicted for alleged “corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who spearheaded the worldwide investigation. Those who were charged in the scandal allegedly raked in a total of $150 million in bribes and kickbacks over the course of more than two decades.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who escaped any formal indictments, was re-elected to the post last week, before abruptly announcing June 2 that he would step down because, as he said, “FIFA needs a profound restructuring.”