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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Bidding process for 2018, 2022 World Cups under investigation - report

Prosecutors in France have questioned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter as part of an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, according to French outlet Le Monde.

The probe, carried out by France's National Public Prosecutor's Office, is looking into the awarding of the tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The newspaper says the office's inquiry is focused on allegations of corruption, and has been ongoing since last year.

Blatter spoke to investigators "as a witness" on April 20, according to the report.

In December of 2014, Michael Garcia, the American lawyer who led FIFA's internal investigation into the 2018 and 2022 Cup bid process, resigned the world governing body's ethics committee in protest over the handling of his findings.

Sepp Blatter is has been questioned about the World Cup bidding process for 2018 and 2022.

Garcia, appointed in July 2012 with the priority of probing the controversial 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests, designed an investigation intended to help reveal the willingness of Blatter's governing body to confront some of its deep-rooted problems.

However, his reports have still not been published, and are expected to remain sealed while FIFA ethics cases are ongoing and a separate investigation led by Switzerland's attorney general continues into suspected money laundering linked to the bid contests.

In June of 2015, FIFA announced it had no legal grounds to strip Russia and Qatar of the World Cups awarded to them.

"Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups by democratic vote of the Executive Committee," FIFA said, via statement. "Based on expert opinions and available facts, FIFA has no legal grounds to take away the hosting of the FIFA World Cup from Russia and Qatar."

"We will not speculate on possible scenarios and therefore have no further comments for the time being."

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