Qatar 2022 FIFA WC organisers counter 'baseless' allegations
Qatar 2022 World Cup organisers have reportedly defended their bidding process against what they have claimed are ''baseless'' allegations.
The organisers said in a statement that reports of impropriety around the voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments are a flagrant attempt to prejudice an ongoing independent investigation, as a FIFA ethics committee headed by lawyer Michael Garcia is looking into the bidding process.
Garcia, the U.S. lawyer leading the probe, said in Brazil this month that he would consider any evidence brought before him before releasing a final report.
If corruption were proved, Qatar could be stripped of the Cup, or at least face a challenge to its position as host either through a re-vote or other processes.
"It should be clear that these leaks are not an attempt to shine light on the 2018/2022 bidding process," the statement said.
Image: FIFA President Sepp Blatter (right) shakes hands with Qatar's 2022 World Cup Bid Chief Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani (left) at a news conference
Photographs: Fadi Al-Assaad/Reuters
High risk of a terrorist attack shutting down the event
"They are, instead, a flagrant attempt to prejudice an ongoing independent investigation.
"Certainly, if the source of these leaks were genuinely concerned with the evidence, they would have provided the leaked documents to Mr. Garcia, as he requested, instead of offering them to the media."
According to the BBC, the remit from Garcia, whose recommendations on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup are due next month, includes looking into allegations that Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments amounting to 3 million pounds to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid, as is revealed by in a Sunday Times investigation.
On Saturday, The Sunday Times released details of its latest report, in which it said FIFA bosses had been warned in a "secret terror briefing" prior to the 2010 vote that there was a "high risk" of a terrorist attack shutting down the event.
Image: Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani (left) holds up a copy of the World Cup he received from FIFA President Sepp Blatter
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters
Qatar strictly adhered to the governing body's rules and regulations
The Qatar2022 statement also said that the bid team had nothing to ''hide'' and that it had co-operated in a completely open and transparent manner.
The statement also revealed that knowing that Qatar were not a key player in the football world, they knew that they had to work harder than anyone else for their bid to succeed, adding that they knocked on more doors, made more phone calls and took more meetings than their competitors.
However, the statement also said that in every aspect of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process, Qatar strictly adhered to the governing body's rules and regulations.
Image: Sheika Moza bint Nasser poses with the World Cup trophy after Qatar were awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Photographs: Getty Images