KOLKATA /India/, October 27. /TASS, Oleg Koshelev/. The world’s football governing body, FIFA, set the deadline of March 16, 2018, for accepting bids to host the global championship in 2026, a senior Russian football official told TASS on Friday.
"All countries wishing to host the 2026 World Cup need to submit their bids before March 16, 2018," Alexei Sorokin, the CEO of the Russian Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Russia-2018 and a member of the FIFA Council, said in an interview with TASS. "This is the deadline for applying the bids."
The FIFA Council convened for a session on Friday in the Indian city of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) making a host of important decisions, including the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup, which would see a new 48-team format.
The previous FIFA World Cup was successfully hosted by Brazil in 2014, the next championship will be held in Russia and the following football flagship event in 2022 is scheduled to be held in Qatar.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first championship in the history of the event to be held in the 48-team format. Only two bids have been submitted so far and they come from the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) and, a joint bid, from the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The FIFA said in its official statement following the session in India that "ratified the decision of the Bureau of the Council of 6 September 2017 to approve the enhanced Bidding Regulations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and appointed the members of the Bid Evaluation Task Force."
"According to the Bidding Regulations, the Task Force must be composed of the chairpersons of the Audit and Compliance Committee and the Governance Committee - in this case, Tomaz Vesel and Mukul Mudgal respectively - as well as a member of the Organizing Committee for Competitions (Ilco Gjorgioski was appointed), together with experts from the administration: Deputy Secretaries General Zvonimir Boban (football) and Marco Villiger (administration)," the styatement from FIFA said.
Russia is currently in full-swing preparations to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup after successfully hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup this summer.
The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.