FBI to investigate Qatar, Russia World Cup bids after FIFA scandals
The FBI has launched a review of the award process for World Cup bids for Russia and Qatar as part of a larger probe beyond FIFA's indictments. (AFP/File)
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The FBI has launched an investigation into the process of awarding World Cup bids to Russia and Qatar as it looks into the corruption scandals at FIFA, Reuters reported Thursday.
A US law enforcement official told Reuters the review of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids is part of a larger probe beyond the indictments. Russia and Qatar have both denied any involvement in any bribes or wrongdoing to secure their bids.
The FBI has already been investigating $150 million in bribes paid over the past two decades, as well as the management of Sepp Blatter, who announced his resignation as FIFA president Tuesday.
American Chuck Blazer, FIFA executive committee member, was found guilty on charges of accepting bribes in the 1998 and 2010 World Cup biddings.
Qatar's Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah said earlier the Middle Eastern country's bid was the best one offered and the investigation was unfounded.
"It is very difficult for some to digest that an Arab Islamic country has this tournament, as if this right can't be for an Arab state," Attiyah told Reuters in Paris. "I believe it is because of prejudice and racism that we have this bashing campaign against Qatar."
Russia similarly dismissed concerns and said the country will continue to cooperate with FIFA investigations.
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