Despite speculation that FIFA would delay the selection of the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as it probed into alleged collusion and bribery, the world's soccer governing body announced on Friday that the selection would go ahead as planned on December 2 in Zurich,.
Two members of FIFA's 24-person executive committee, who vote on the winner among the prospective World Cup hosts, have already been provisionally suspended by FIFA as allegations of offering to sell their votes are investigated. FIFA is also investigating alleged vote trading between a joint bid fromand and Qatar. These controversies caused FIFA to question whether or not to delay the vote, but when the executive committee met on Friday, they agreed to go forward as planned with a December 2 vote.
, Russia, Spain/Portugal and /Belgium are all bidding to host the 2018 World Cup, while , , Qatar, and the are all vying for the 2022 edition.
The key reason cited for keeping the vote on December 2 is to not disrupt the plans for the bidding countries to bring in politicians, dignitaries and soccer greats to Zurich for their final presentations. Former US President Bill Clinton and current prime ministers Vladimir Putin of Russia, David Cameron of Britain and Julia Gillard of Australia are planning to be in attendance.
FIFA did decide on the procedure for the vote on Friday. Any bidding country will require a majority of the votes to win the right to host when the executive committee votes by secret ballot. The country with the lowest votes will be eliminated each round until 13 of the 24 members have voted for a single bid. While it was not addressed, FIFA President Sepp Blatter will presumably still have the tiebreaking vote should there be a 12-12 vote, as has been the case in the past.