A FIFA judge has cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption in their winning bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The football governing body's ethics investigator Hans-Joachim Eckert did not uncover any evidence to strip Qatar of the 2022 World Cup
Eckert, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's independent ethics committee, published a 42-page report of his initial findings of the investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process, based on an inquiry conducted by American attorney Michael Garcia over a period of 18 months.
The report confirms Russia and Qatar as the hosts of the next two World Cups, after no proof was found of bribes or voting pacts.
"FIFA welcomes the fact that a degree of closure has been reached with the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber stating today that 'the evaluation of the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups™ bidding process is closed for the FIFA Ethics Committee'," read a statement on the football governing body's website.
"As such, FIFA looks forward to continuing the preparations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, which are already well underway,"
The report clears Qatar of any involvement in payments made by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari former FIFA executive committee member who was banned for life by the football governing body.
Back in 2010, the FIFA executive committee had awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia over England and joint bids from Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal. The 2022 World Cup went to Qatar, who beat the US, Korea, Japan and Australia.
However, there has been no decision yet on when the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will take place as it is still unknown if FIFA is seeking an alternative to the desert heat during June and July.