FIFA’s 211 member associations assembled today in Manama, Bahrain for the 67th FIFA Congress. The organisation’s supreme body made a few important decisions to validate reports on FIFA’s activities in 2016 and, more importantly, to agree on key steps for the future of the organisation.

This included the ratification of the next stages of the bidding process to select the host(s) of the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. Following the approval of the bidding requirements by the FIFA Council on 9 May, the FIFA Congress agreed, with 93% of the valid votes, on a three-month period – until 11 August 2017 – for member associations from CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the OFC to express their interest in hosting the tournament. The decision on whether to select any of the bidders as the host(s) of the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be taken by the 68th FIFA Congress, which will convene in Moscow on 13 June next year, on the eve of the opening match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.

The approved motion reads as follows:

“Based on specific regulations to be issued by the Council, the FIFA general secretariat shall establish a bidding procedure inviting initially the member associations of CONCACAF, CAF, CONMEBOL and the OFC to express their interest by 11 August 2017 to submit to FIFA a bid to host the final competition of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The 68th FIFA Congress will decide on the selection of the candidate host associations.

Should the 68th FIFA Congress not select any candidate host associations, the FIFA general secretariat will invite further member associations – including the member associations of AFC and UEFA and excluding those member associations that submitted a bid initially – to submit a bid to host the final competition of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

Other key decisions:

-          Election of the members of the Audit and Compliance Committee, the Governance Committee and the judicial bodies. The members have been elected for a term of office of four years, effective immediately.

-          Approval of the detailed budget for 2018, with a total investment of USD 2.899 billion – 91% of which is allocated to football activities, chief among which is the organisation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

-          The 67th FIFA Congress followed the proposal of the FIFA Council with regard to the motion submitted by the Palestinian Football Association – “a request for official recognition of the Palestinian Football Association’s entitlements to all of its rights as described in the FIFA Statutes”. The FIFA Congress approved, with 73% of valid votes, the following proposal: “Considering that the matter is not a Congress competence but a Council competence, that a consolidated report of the monitoring committee is not yet ready, and that more time is needed to evaluate the situation and to take a decision, the Council proposes to the Congress not to vote on the proposal of the Palestinian Football Association and to give time to the Council to take a decision before the end of March 2018.” Nevertheless, the Council has committed to deciding on the matter already at its next meeting, on 27 October 2017.