The Latest: British govt says country able to host 2022 WCup

0940 GMT (5:40 a.m. EDT)

The British government says England is ready to step in and host the 2022 World Cup if the tournament is stripped from Qatar amid the corruption scandal engulfing FIFA.

“Obviously if FIFA came forward and asked us to consider hosting it, we have the facilities in this country and of course we did mount a very impressive, if unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup,” culture secretary John Whittingdale told the House of Commons.

However, Whittingdale acknowledged that “it does seem very unlikely that another European country would host it in 2022” because Russia is due to stage the World Cup in 2018.

Swiss authorities are investigating the bidding contests for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, and have seized documents at FIFA headquarters as part of their corruption probe.


0845 GMT (4:45 a.m. EDT)

South Africa’s organized crime unit is conducting a preliminary investigation into bribery allegations surrounding the 2010 World Cup bid after being provided with documents by an opposition political party.

The unit’s spokesman, Hangwani Mulaudzi, says a file has been opened and the unit will decide whether the information calls for a full investigation.

Mulaudzi would not describe the documents the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation received from the Freedom Front Plus political party.

Mulaudzi says the unit has “investigators looking into the matter.”

Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer said in court documents unsealed Wednesday in the United states that he and other top officials at FIFA took bribes connected to South Africa’s successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

South Africa’s government denies it paid bribes.