The Latest: FIFA presidential election period set to open
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on the FIFA meetings ahead of the World Cup in Russia (all times local):
The FIFA presidential election period formally starts this week in Moscow.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has chaired a council meeting which confirmed a timetable leading to the election in Paris on June 5, 2019.
The formal election period opens Wednesday at the annual meeting of FIFA member federations.
Would-be candidates for the election must submit their entry papers by next Feb. 5, and pass an eligibility test.
Infantino, who was elected to succeed Sepp Blatter in February 2016, is yet to confirm his expected bid for a four-year second term.
FIFA's quirky rankings system to rate 211 men's national teams and decide seeding in World Cup draws is getting a reboot.
FIFA says it approved a new formula which rewards teams for playing more games, and it takes effect in the post-World Cup ranking on July 19.
The new formula is "eliminating the potential for ranking manipulation." The current system in place since 1993 lets teams boost their status by avoiding friendly games.
Now, teams will gain or lose points from their existing points total with each result. More weight will be given to competitive games over friendlies.
Germany is the top-ranked team when the World Cup kicks off Thursday in Moscow.
Kosovo is set to miss the 2026 World Cup hosting vote after the death of its football federation president.
FIFA says Kosovo officials have confirmed they will not attend the election meeting Wednesday after the sudden death of Fadil Vokkri. The former Yugoslavia international died Saturday at age 57.
Vokkri led Kosovo's campaign to become a member of European football body UEFA, and then FIFA, in 2016.
Up to 206 voters will now choose between Morocco and the joint United States-Canada-Mexico bid in Moscow.
Ghana has kept its right to vote, despite risking a FIFA suspension for government interference in how the national football body is run.
Football in Ghana is in turmoil after a television documentary this week broadcast footage of officials taking cash payments from undercover reporters posing as businessmen.
FIFA has formally let both 2026 World Cup host candidates go on the ballot paper for Wednesday's vote.
Morocco and the joint United States-Canada-Mexico bid were expected to advance with the FIFA Council's approval Sunday.
A FIFA panel evaluating both bids could disqualify any bid that scored too low in key areas such as stadiums and hotels.
Morocco scored 2.7 overall on a 0-to-5 scale in the panel's reports — above the minimum 2 required.
The North American bid scored 4 overall, and got the only 5 mark for its projected sales of tickets and corporate hospitality deals.
Talks on exploring a 48-team World Cup in 2022 have been taken off the agenda at FIFA's annual congress Wednesday.
FIFA says a request to start a feasibility study into adding 16 teams to the Qatar-hosted tournament has been withdrawn by South American body CONMEBOL.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino says his staff will continue talks with Qatar about potential expansion.
Infantino has been enthusiastic about seeking agreement for an expanded event.
A 48-team World Cup would require extra stadiums and could lead to Qatar sharing hosting duties with Middle East neighbors.
Qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup are likely to begin in early 2019.