In a monumental moment, the chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee told a Swiss newspaper today that Russia and Qatar could be stripped of the World Cup should evidence of bribery emerge.
“If evidence should emerge that the awards to Qatar and Russia only came about thanks to bought votes, then the awards could be invalidated,” Domenico Scala said in an interview with SonntagsZeitung published on Sunday. “This evidence has not yet been brought forth.”
Reuters received confirmation of Scala’s comments via one of his representatives.
The statement, while bland and seemingly obvious, is a significant step because to this point, FIFA – behind president Sepp Blatter – has remained steadfast in its unequivocal support for the upcoming World Cup hosts despite repeated accusations of bribery and scandal involved with the bidding process.
While none of the arrests made by the United States justice department have been directly linked to bribery claims involving the upcoming World Cups, reports have repeatedly stated those bids are indeed under investigation, as are just about every other World Cup in recent memory some way.
Scala also mentioned the possibility for presidential term limits in a separate interview, something Blatter randomly and humorously supported during his resignation speech despite having won a whopping fifth term just days prior.