The bidding process for the 2026 Fifa World Cup has been moved amid speculations surrounding the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
This is according to a speech made by Fifa General Secretary Jerome Valcke in the Russian city of Samara. The Frenchman said it was “a nonsense” to begin the process in the current “situation”.
Member federations of the football governing body were due to be informed on the schedule for the 2026 tournament this week, but such appears very unlikely to go ahead.
“Due to the situation, I think it’s nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being,” Valcke said.
Fifa added in a statement: “It was decided to place the administrative process on hold for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ bidding due to the current situation.
“Further decisions regarding the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding process will be discussed by the FIFA Executive Committee at a later date.”
The vote to decide host nation for the 2026 World Cup is scheduled to take place in May 2017 in Kualar Lumpur.
The United States have already declared interest in hosting the tournament and are expected to be joined by Canada, Mexico and Colombia in the race.
Russia and Qatar were selected to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments by a secret ballot of Fifa’s 22 Executive Committee members in December 2010.
But Swiss prosecutors are investigating alleged cases of irregularities sorrounding the bidding process.
Valcke also defended Fifa’s handling of a $10m (£6.5m) payment from the South African government towards a Caribbean diaspora legacy programme.
An indictment by US prosecutors allege the money was a bribe to help secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.
The South African government insists it was a legitimate payment to promote Caribbean football.
“It was not Fifa’s money. It was a request from official South African authorities and the South African Football Association (SAFA). As long as it is in line with rules we do it,” said Valcke.
“I don’t understand what’s the problem and why I am such a target in this question.”
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has announced he will resign from his role amid ongoing corruption investigations which also involves 14 persons currently under investigation by US authorities.
An extraordinary congress has been slated for between Dcember and March 2016 for the election of the Swiss’ successor, with reports suggesting the Fifa polls might come as early as 16 December.