Qatar has signed an exclusive sponsorship deal for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Congress, in which the continent’s football movers and shakers will be gathered on the eve of the African Cup of Nations in Angola.
As a result, only Qatar, among all the nations bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup tournaments, will be allowed to make presentations to the Congress.
That has upset the other bidding nations.
The other bidding nations had expected to be allowed access to the congress, but CAF executives ruled that no nation except Qatar could be formally seen or heard. Fifa said that it had no power to intervene, nor had there been any formal complaint.
The Qatar bid team, backed by a huge budget, had also sponsored the Soccerex conference in South Africa last November, but that was not an exclusive deal and other nations were allowed to pitch their cases to delegates from around the world.
This time CAF says they will not be welcome. An e-mail to bidding nations said: “CAF has signed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with Qatar 2022 for the CAF Congress 2010, which, as a consequence, means that no other bidding nations for the World Cup will be allowed to make any presentations at the Congress, which will be held on January 29.
“However, your delegation and representatives will be allowed to attend as ‘observers’, but without the possibility to organise press conferences, distribute any promotional material or erect stands to that effect within the venue and its vicinity on that day.”
Other bidders for 2018 and 2022, including Russia, Australia, the United States and the joint campaign team from Spain and Portugal intend to be in Africa at the end of the month and would have welcomed the chance to show off their plans.
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