Zurich, Switzerland (Reuters) — New FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on his first full working day that he expected the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup, delayed last year by a scandal which has engulfed FIFA, should begin in the next couple of months.
The 2018 and 2022 tournaments, to be staged in Russia and Qatar, had to be the “best in history”, he added.
Speaking after an informal match with FIFA employees and guests, Infantino said bidding for the 2026 World Cup hosting, which was supposed to have started in 2015 with a decision due in Kuala Lumpur next year, should begin before the Mexico City congress in May.
“Definitely I think we need to launch the bidding process in the next couple of months, probably before the next Congress in May,” Infantino said.
“Concerning Qatar and Russia, the decisions were taken in 2010 by the executive committee, but since 2010 there has been speculation and allegations and noise.
“It’s now necessary to organise the best World Cup in history in Russia in 2018 and in 2022 in Qatar.”
FIFA has been forced to investigate the decision to grant the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar and an investigation is also under way by the Swiss attorney general’s office.