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Russia, Qatar could lose World Cups

If evidence emerges of bribery, Russia and Qatar will both be stripped of their hosting rights.

The emblem for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia. Picture: Facebook.com

CAPE TOWN/ZURICH - If evidence emerges of bribery during the bidding process, Russia and Qatar could be stripped of their World Cup hosting rights.

Fifa's audit and compliance committee chairman Domenico Scala was quoted as saying in a Swiss newspaper.

US authorities say the FBI's investigation of bribery and corruption at Fifa includes scrutiny of how Fifa awarded World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar.

"If evidence should emerge that the awards to Qatar and Russia only came about thanks to bought votes, then the awards could be invalidated," Scala was quoted in Sonntags Zeitung.

"This evidence has not yet been brought forth."

Both countries deny any wrongdoing.

In 2013, Scala made similar comments but events over the last two weeks have added urgency to his remarks.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he supported Qatar hosting the 2022 tournament but said Britain would work with another country if Fifa re-opened the bidding process.

"We would offer our support to any country that has been chosen to host the World Cup," Hammond told BBC World Service radio, saying the final decision would be for Fifa to make. He ruled out any British bid to host the 2022 competition if Qatar was stripped of hosting rights.

Sepp Blatter unexpectedly announced on Tuesday he was resigning, just four days after securing a fifth term as Fifa president and shortly before it emerged that he too was under investigation by US law enforcement.

In a separate interview with Swiss paper Sonntags Blick, Scala floated the idea of term limits for the Fifa presidency.

"If a Fifa president does two or three cycles that is enough," Scala was quoted as saying.

A representative for Scala confirmed his remarks.

Fifa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Reuters.