While the FIFA has been handling several corruption allegations related to Russia hosting the World Cup 2018, reports on corruption allegations and secret campaigns launched by Qatar to beat its rivals in hosting the 2022 tournament are piling up.
The latest was by the Sunday Times, revealing that Qatar launched a secret campaign to sabotage its main rivals, the US and Australia. In the report, the Sunday Times claimed obtaining leaked documents from a whistleblower on Qatar running a secret “black operations” campaign to beat rivals to host the championship.
Documents confirmed that Qatar had recruited a US PR firm and ex-CIA agents to attack the bids giving an impression that there was “zero support” for the World Cup in their countries, exploiting the fact that FIFA needs to assure there is strong backing at home for each country to approve the bid.
Meanwhile, Sepp Blatter who was President of the FIFA during that time, tweeted on Sunday confirming claims made against Qatar. However, he said Qatar’s win came a result of a political intervention by the former French President Sarkozy with FIFA Vice-President Platini.
While talks over possibilities that Qatar might be stripped hosting the World Cup 2022, voices in England have asked to consider their country to host the tournament in this case.
Lord Triesman, an MP in UK, called on for a “proper independent investigation” into the secret campaign claimed to be launched by Qatar against its rivals saying if it was found guilty, England should be considered to host the 2022 World Cup.
He said: “If Qatar is shown to have broken the FIFA rules, then they can’t hold on to the World Cup. It would not be wrong for Fifa to reconsider England in those circumstances.”
Qatari officials denied allegations with no official comment from the FIFA. Defenders and critics of the Qatar bid (and FIFA) are weighing in on social media.
Saudis had a lot to say, given the attempted blockade of Qatar by Saudi and its GCC allies, which has led to extremely bad relations.
In fact, this is not the first time Qatar is accused of corruption to host the tournament. In 2014, similar claims were investigated and then cleared after two-year FIFA inquiry.
Media reports claimed that FIFA officials looked into tearing up the deal with Qatar, however, their fear of litigation from Qatar and commercial firms tied to World Cup deals prevented them from taking such a step.
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