Football

Qatar’s 2022 bid ‘broke Fifa rules on sabotage’

THE Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team broke Fifa rules by running a secret campaign to sabotage their rivals for the tournament, the Sunday Times claimed today.
The newspaper said it has been passed documents by a whistleblower who worked with the Qatar bid.
It said the bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia.
This allegedly involved recruiting prominent figures to criticise the bids in their own countries to give the impression they lacked domestic support.
Fifa rules say bidders must “refrain from making any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association which has expressed an interest in hosting and staging the competitions.”
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy rejected all the paper’s claims.
The alleged smear campaign included paying a professor $9,000 (£6,900) to write a damning report on the economic cost of a US World Cup, recruiting journalists and bloggers to promote negative stories in the US, Australian and international media, and organising grassroots protests at rugby matches in Australia.
The leaked documents also revealed that a group of US PE teachers had been recruited to ask congressmen to oppose a World Cup on the grounds the money would be better spent on high school sports, the paper claimed.
Former FA chairman Lord Triesman, who led the England bid, urged Fifa to “look at the evidence thoroughly,” saying Qatar should not be allowed to “hold on to the World Cup” if it was shown to have broken Fifa rules.
He told the paper: “I think it would not be wrong for Fifa to reconsider England in those circumstances … We have the capabilities.”
The Qatar bid team has previously been accused of corruption but was cleared following a two-year inquiry by the Fifa ethics committee.
Its delivery committee rejected “every allegation” put forward by the Sunday Times.
It said the bid had been “thoroughly investigated” and that the country had “strictly adhered to all Fifa’s rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.”
Fifa said an investigation into the circumstances of the bid had already been carried out and no wrongdoing was found.
Since the bid, Qatar has been under fire for the appalling conditions in which migrants building World Cup stadiums and infrastructure are forced to live and work.
Thousands have been killed on construction projects and migrant workers were employed under the kafala system, under which bosses’ hold their passports and can refuse to let them move to other jobs or leave the country.

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