Qatar cleared to host 2022 World Cup
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Qatar have been cleared to host the 2022 World Cup after a report by Fifa's ethics committee revealed only minor breaches of rules in the bidding process on Thursday morning.
German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's independent ethics committee, published his findings in a 42-page report following an 18-month investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process conducted by American attorney Michael Garcia.
The report effectively confirms Qatar and Russia as 2022 and 2018 hosts, claiming that any rule breaches by the bidding countries were "of very limited scope".
"In particular, the effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it," Eckert says.
Qatar was cleared of involvement in any payments by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari former Fifa executive committee member banned for life by the organisation. Bin Hammam was "distant" from the bid committee, the report says, claiming payments made to Jack Warner and other African officials were more related to his challenge for the Fifa presidency in 2011.
Meanwhile, the report is an embarrassment for England, whose attempts to win the support of disgraced former Fifa vice-president Warner were said to have "violated bidding rules".
England targeted executives supposedly controlled by Warner and that led to the Trinidad official "showering the bid team with inappropriate requests", according to the report, and even included the securing of a job in the UK for a family friend.
"Relevant occurrences included Mr Warner pressing, in 2009 and again in 2010, England's bid team to help a person of interest to him find a part-time job in the UK," the reports states. "England 2018's top officials in response not only provided the individual concerned with employment opportunities, but also kept Mr Warner apprised of their efforts as they solicited his support for the bid."
Russia and Australia also come in for criticism in the report. Russia banned Garcia from entering the country and also claimed no e-mail evidence could be offered because their computer systems had been scrapped, while Australia also made efforts to influence Warner.
Spain and Portugal, joint bidders for the 2018 World Cup, were not mentioned in the report.