Zurich:FIFA voted to scrap its continental rotation policy for the World Cup, a decision which throws the race for the 2018 tournament wide open.
FIFA spokesman John Schumacher said the new rule, which was made at a meeting of the executive committee, would go into effect starting with the 2018 World Cup.
Countries belonging to the African and South American confederations will not be eligible to host the 2018 tournament because South Africa will host the 2010 competition and Brazil is expected to have its bid for 2014 confirmed on Tuesday.
World soccer's governing body has been under heavy pressure to open up the 2018 bidding to allow nations outside North and Central America and the Caribbean to host the tournament.
Nations interested in hosting the 2018 event include the United States, England, Russia, Australia, Spain, China, Mexico and a joint bid from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The rotation system meant that after Colombia dropped out of the 2014 race, Brazil was left as the sole candiate a situation FIFA president Sepp Blatter wanted to avoid in the future.