FIFA hands over IT data as it postpones 2026 bidding announcement

Former Vice President Jack Warner

FIFA has handed over a second batch of computer data to the Swiss attorney general’s office, which is investigating the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The Swiss prosecutors first seized computer data two weeks ago and has now asked for more to be provided.

FIFA said in a statement: ”As confirmed by the office of the Swiss attorney general, FIFA has provided the requested IT data.”

One of the seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich on corruption charges two weeks ago has applied for bail. The seven are in custody pending extradition to the United States.

Meanwhile, FIFA has postponed the announcement of the the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup due to the corruption crisis that has engulfed the organisation.

The world governing body has also confirmed a decision on the date of the congress to elect Sepp Blatter’s successor as president will be made in July.

December 16 is the favourite option, while FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has defended his involvement in a $10m payment from South Africa to Jack Warner via FIFA’s executive office.

Jerome Valcke
Jerome Valcke

Blatter announced he would resign last Tuesday – four days after he was re-elected for a fifth term – following corruption charges against FIFA officials that caused the biggest crisis in the world governing body’s history.

FIFA had been due to reveal details of the 2026 World Cup bidding process this week, building up to a vote at the 2017 Congress in Kuala Lumpur but has not postponed that announcement.

Valcke attended a Russia 2018 World Cup organising committee board meeting in Samara, in Russia’s Volga region, where he confirmed details on the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup – which was due to be announced this week – had been postponed.

He also defended FIFA’s handling of the $10m payment to a Caribbean Football Union account controlled by Warner, the former FIFA vice-president whose deputy Chuck Blazer has pleaded guilty in court of taking some of the money as a bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

The payment followed a 2008 letter from the South African Football Association (SAFA) to Valcke asking for the money to be deducted for the World Cup budget and sent as a legacy programme to be administered by Warner.

Valcke told a news conference in Samara: ”It was not FIFA’s money… it was a request from official South African authorities and SAFA. As long as it is in line with rules we do it.“

In another development, former Brazil player and coach Zico has confirmed he intends to stand for the presidency of FIFA, insisting it is his “duty”.

The 62-year-old told a press conference in Rio de Janeiro: ”It’s sad for our sport to see what is happening in football today – the corruption… and the hard work of many other good people wasted.

”I see it as my duty to use my experience and knowledge to try and stand for the presidency.”

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