FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke, the defacto spokesperson now that disgraced president Sepp Blatter is under investigation, said on Wednesday that FIFA would "postpone" the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup. The announcement comes after investigations are swirling around individual FIFA members, its leadership, host countries and the bidding process used to award the international tournaments.
The bidding process had previously been expected to start soon, with a final award in 2017. But Valcke said it's "nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being."
On Monday, in a predictable decision, FIFA said that there are no legal grounds for it to take the 2018 World Cup from Russia or the 2022 event from Qatar, though U.S. and international prosecutors may have a different opinion once their investigations are complete.
Numerous senior officials have agreed to cooperate, raising the possibility that stunning revelations of corruption in the bidding process will be revealed about both tournaments.
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 against Jack Warner, FIFA's former vice president, alleges he took a $10 million bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.
Valcke, fearing he, too, will become entangled in the case, has strenuously denied any wrongdoing in connection with the $10 million bribe.
He has also insisted that FIFA "has never been described as a corrupt organization" despite numerous allegations, supported by years of rumors, that paint an opposing picture.
Valcke has also suggested that the media is out to get him, similar language used by Blatter before his downfall.
"You have decided that after Blatter, I have to be the head to cut," he said to reporters.