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FIFA sets date for 2026 World Cup hosting bid rules



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GENEVA (AP) — A 2026 World Cup hosting contest which could include the United States and exclude Europe will take shape next week when FIFA agrees on campaign rules.

FIFA said Tuesday that its executive committee will approve bidding regulations at a two-day meeting starting Monday.

The executive committee could block European bids from a contest set to feature CONCACAF neighbors Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said last week "it should be" that a continental confederation cannot bid for the next two World Cups after hosting. Russia will stage the 2018 tournament, leaving UEFA members next eligible for the 2030 tournament.

"It is more than an option," Blatter told reporters last week when asked if FIFA could tighten the continental rule.

Currently, the FIFA statutes only prevent confederations from hosting back-to-back World Cups.

FIFA will choose the 2026 host in a May 2017 vote of all member federations.

That reform was passed after the executive committee's controversial choice of Russia and 2022 host Qatar. The Gulf emirate beat the American bid 14-8 in a final round of voting in December 2010.

The nine-candidate bidding contests for 2018 and 2022 were marred by allegations of wrongdoing. Some claims were examined by the FIFA ethics committee before the vote and the entire process was later investigated by former U.S. federal prosecutor Michael Garcia. He resigned last December in protest at FIFA's handling of his work and ethics judge Joachim Eckert's assessment that any wrongdoing did not influence the voting results.

In March, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke promised greater scrutiny of candidates in the new bidding rules.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Graham Dunbar

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