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Infantino Promises Transparent Bidding Process for 2026 FIFA World Cup

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Gianni Infantino celebrates after being elected as the new FIFA President during the Extraordinary FIFA Congress at Hallenstadion on February 26, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein - FIFA/FIF

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has promised that the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup will be “transparent”.

Writing in the governing body’s magazine, the Swiss moved to allay fears after the controversies surrounding the race for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

Russia and Qatar were awarded the respective events at the same time in December 2010 but the bids were plagued by allegations of corruption.

The Garcia Report, eventually released in full by FIFA in June, seemed to clear both countries of any severe wrongdoing.

A shorter, “legally appropriate” report had been released in 2014 with the full version still alleging “a number of “serious problems” with the bidding process for the two tournaments.

It stopped short, however, of uncovering any major corruption.

The crisis led to the nomination process for the 2026 World Cup being delayed for nearly a year.

It eventually began in May last year with a joint North American bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico now entered alongside a bid from African country Morocco.

Infantino has promised to “radically enhance the mechanisms for selecting the location of our showpiece event”.

“The process is as objective and transparent as it can get,” he said in the magazine, according to AFP.

“With aspects such as the bid book content, candidature evaluation reports, votes by each member of the FIFA Council, and the final decision of the FIFA Congress to be closely monitored.

“Every step of the bidding process will be open to public examination – and, for the first time, the process will be scrutinized by an independent audit company.”

The 2026 World Cup will be the first to feature 48 teams after Infantino successfully engineered an increase from 32.

A decision on who hosts the event is expected to be made in 2020.

The joint North American bid is currently viewed as the strong favorite.

By Dan Palmer

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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