There is a "very strong" case for re-running bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups if it is proved that the process of awarding the tournaments was corrupt, Britain's culture secretary John Whittingdale said on Thursday (4 June).
"We wait to see the outcome of the investigations. If there is evidence that the bid process was corrupt then I think the case for re-running it is very strong.
"However, if the World Cup goes ahead then I think it would be unfair to tell English fans and indeed fans of the other home nations if their sides qualify that they would not be able to watch their sides compete in the World Cup because the broadcasters were not going to purchase the sports rights to cover it.
"I think it is a separate matter, the importance is that we get this cleared up long before we get to the World Cup in 2018," he told parliament, in answer to a question on whether British broadcasters should pay for the rights to the 2018 and 2022 world cups.
Whittingdale said that if Qatar were stripped of the 2022 World Cup it would be unlikely to be held in Europe. But if England was asked to consider hosting, it had the facilities.
"It does seem very unlikely that another European country would host it in 2022. But 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," he said.
Whittingdale welcomed Sepp Blatter's decision to quit as Fifa president but said the organisation needed to implement further change.
"In order to achieve the reforms that all of us believe are vitally necessary in Fifa the first requirement was a change in leadership. We have now obtained that. But that is the beginning of the process certainly not the end of it."
An FBI investigation of bribery and corruption at Fifa includes scrutiny of how soccer's governing body awarded the two tournaments to Russia and Qatar, a US law enforcement official said on Wednesday. Swiss prosecutors have also announced a criminal inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 bids.