A FIFA official says Russia and Qatar could be stripped of their World Cup hosting rights if evidence emerges of corruption in the bidding process.
The comments by Domenico Scala, head of FIFA’s auditing and compliance committee, are the first by a senior FIFA official indicating that the two countries could lose their right to host world soccer’s premier event.
"If evidence exists that Qatar and Russia received the [World Cup] awards only thanks to bribes, then the awards could be annulled," Scala said in an interview published June 7 by the Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung.
He added, however, that "this evidence has not been provided" so far.
A representative for Scala confirmed his remarks.
Swiss police on May 27 arrested seven FIFA officials based on U.S. charges of corruption.
Swiss authorities have opened a separate criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on June 2 that he will resign amid the scandals surrounding the organization he leads.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP