FIFA unveils 2026 World Cup bidding process

By The Citizen
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FIFA unveiled the timetable of its delayed bidding process for the 2026 World Cup on Tuesday, with president Gianni Infantino's plans for a 40-team tournament to be decided upon by October and a final decision on the hosts to be made in May 2020.

Soccer's world governing body said it would consider giving the green light to joint bids and review a rule which currently allows a continent to stage the tournament every eight years.

A FIFA source said they had considered increasing this wait period to 12 years or more and that there had been no discussions about allowing a continent to host successive World Cups.

This could mean that with Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup, Europe would have to wait until at least 2030 before staging the tournament again, Reuters reported.

The decisions were among the first passed by the new-look FIFA Council, which was holding its maiden meeting since it replaced the old executive committee under reforms passed in February.

The Council, which has a strategic role, ruled that bidding nations would have to meet requirements on human rights, sustainable event management and environmental protection. Bidders who did not meet 'technical requirements' would be excluded, it said.

Infantino was elected as FIFA president in February when one of his main promises was to increase the number of teams in the finals from 32 to 40, a proposal which is strongly opposed by Europe's biggest clubs.