FIFA sets four-stage bidding process for 2026 World Cup

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Mexico City, May 11 (IANS) The strategic arm of world football’s governing body FIFA has established a four-stage bidding process for hosting the 2026 World Cup.

At a meeting leading up to the kick-off of FIFA’s 66th Congress here, the FIFA Council on Tuesday agreed to carry out the first stage of the process, the consultation phase, between May 2016 and May 2017, reports Efe.

FIFA will develop a second phase for bid preparation between June 2017 and December 2018, followed by a period of bid evaluation from January 2019 to February 2020, with the final decision being taken in May 2020.

The consultation phase will include, as part of the bidding process, aspects of human rights requirements, environmental protection, the exclusion of candidates that do not meet technical standards, a review of the existing position on joint bids, and the number of teams participating.

The number of teams and the federations’ eligibility to bid are expected to be decided in October 2016.

At its Tuesday meeting, the FIFA Council agreed to recommend to the congress, which begins on Wednesday, the acceptance of Gibraltar and Kosovo as members of the world soccer organisation.

The group stated that should these two federations be welcomed into FIFA at the congress, they will be able to take part in the qualifying rounds of the 2018 World Cup.

FIFA is holding its 66th congress with its 209 member federations in attendance to discuss a range of its activities and plans for championship tourneys in the coming years.

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