Qatar reiterated yesterday that it had won the 2022 World Cup bid on its merits. Reacting to the latest allegations by London’s Sunday Times newspaper, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Qatar’s World Cup organising panel, said it stood by its previous statement.
“There is an ongoing investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process, with which we have fully co-operated,” the Supreme Committee said.
“Consistent with FIFA’s rules we have been asked to refrain from commenting on the investigation and will comply with that request,” it said, adding: “Qatar has won the bid on its merits and we are confident that at the end of the appropriate process, the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar will stand.”
Last week the Supreme Committee had emphasised that Qatar had won the 2022 FIFA World Cup vote “fairly”, while strongly denying the Sunday Times claim that a former top football official had paid more than $5mn to win support for the country’s bid to host the prestigious event.
“We vehemently deny all allegations of wrong-doing,” the Supreme Committee had said in last week’s statement.
“We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar’s bid and our lawyers are looking into this matter,” the committee had said.
Britain’s Sunday Times claimed it had obtained “millions” of e-mails, documents and bank transfers relating to Mohamed bin Hammam, then a member of the executive committee of FIFA, the sport’s world governing body.
But the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said in last week’s statement that bin Hammam had no role whatsoever in Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee.
“In regard to the latest allegations from the Sunday Times, we say again that Mohamed bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee,” it had said.
The committee said Qatar’s bid team even “had to convince bin Hammam of the merits” of the bid, just as was the case with other members of the FIFA executive committee.
“The right to host the tournament was won because it was the best bid and because it is time for the Middle East to host its first FIFA World Cup,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) has called for addressing the campaigns of questioning Qatar’s eligibility to host the 2022 World Cup.
ASBU, in recommendations and decisions of its executive bureau meeting, also called on its members to intensify media support for Qatar’s right to hosting and organising the event which will be held, for the first time, on Arab soil.
ASBU’s two-day executive bureau meeting concluded in Tunis yesterday.
Former US prosecutor Michael Garcia, leading FIFA’s internal investigation, is expected to conclude his enquiry by today, but is not expected to submit his final report until mid-July.
FIFA yesterday issued a statement from the body’s marketing director Thierry Weil, saying: “We are in constant contact with our Commercial Affiliates including adidas, Sony and Visa and they have 100% confidence in the investigation currently being conducted by FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee.”
“Our sponsors have not requested anything that is not covered by the on-going investigation by the Ethics Committee,” the statement said.
Payment card company Visa, which has a contract as a FIFA sponsor until 2022, said it was monitoring the progress of the Garcia investigation.
“We expect FIFA will take the appropriate actions to respond to the report and its recommendations,” it said.
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