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FIFA Suspends 2026 World Cup Bidding

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FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks as he attends a news conference during his visit to the southern city of Samara, one of the 2018 World Cup host cities, Russia, June 10, 2015.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks as he attends a news conference during his visit to the southern city of Samara, one of the 2018 World Cup host cities, Russia, June 10, 2015.

FIFA said it has suspended the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup because of the ongoing corruption scandal involving the world football governing body.

It would be "nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said at a news conference in Russia on Wednesday.

The host of the 2026 world football championship was set to be chosen by FIFA members during a 2017 meeting in Malaysia. It is not clear when the decision now will be made.

The United States, Canada, Mexico, and European countries are thought to be among the likely bidders for the tournament.

FIFA TIMELINE

FIFA TIMELINE

A U.S. indictment issued last month charges nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives with offenses that include racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. Swiss officials are investigating separate allegations of mismanagement and money laundering connected to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

"Were there to be proof the state of Qatar was involved in subverting the process, then [Qatar] would have pretty limited legs to stand on in a legal context, because it would have gained the tournament illicitly," Martin Lipton, deputy head of sport content at London's The Sun, said.

Lipton called delayed bidding for the 2018 world cup less likely. "The time scale is incredibly tight," he said. "We have a provisional draw for qualifying as soon as next month in St. Petersburg, but I think 2022 is different. ... I think it's moving toward a position where 2022 will be moved."

If there's going to be a change of venue for 2022, "then the needs of rotation mean that you have to change the list of potential bidders for 2026." This requirement, he said, makes FIFA's decision to hiatus the 2026 bidding process a prudent one.

Although he has not been formally charged with any crimes, FIFA President Sepp Blatter became caught up in the scandal and announced he would resign once a new president is elected sometime between December 2015 and March 2016.

FILE - FIFA president Sepp Blatter Franz Beckenbauer (R) chairman of the local organizing committee (LOC) and FIFA Confederations Cup Chairman Chuck Blazer .

FILE - FIFA president Sepp Blatter Franz Beckenbauer (R) chairman of the local organizing committee (LOC) and FIFA Confederations Cup Chairman Chuck Blazer .

Bribes

U.S. court records unsealed last Wednesday show that a former executive committee member of FIFA admitted accepting bribes in connection with the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

Charles Blazer, a U.S. citizen who spent two decades as one of the world's most powerful soccer officials, secretly pleaded guilty in November 2013 to 10 criminal counts in New York as part of an agreement with U.S. prosecutors, according to the partially redacted transcript of the hearing.

Blazer told a U.S. judge that he and others on FIFA's executive committee accepted bribes in connection with the choice of France as the host of the 1998 World Cup. He said he also accepted bribes linked to the 2010 event awarded to South Africa.

Henry Ridgwell contributed to this report from London

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