Qatar’s World Cup bid used ‘black ops’

People celebrate in front of a screen that reads "Congratulations Qatar" after FIFA announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup. (Reuters)
Updated 30 July 2018
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Qatar’s World Cup bid used ‘black ops’

  • Doha hired former CIA agents report claims
  • PR company hired to spread black propaganda

LONDON: Qatar hired former CIA agents to conduct a so called black operations campaign to attack rival World Cup bids, the Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper said Qatar paid a public relations firm to spread “fake propaganda” about Australia and the US — both rivals to host the 2022 competition, citing emails from a whistleblower.

Qatar’s bid to host the competition has been plagued by allegations of corruption ever since the shock announcement handing the hosting rights to the Gulf state was made in 2010.

Doha aimed to recruit influential individuals to attack bids in their native countries, creating the impression there was “zero support” to host the World Cup among the population, the Sunday Times reported.

One email that was sent to Qatar’s deputy bid leader Ali Al-Thawadi allegedly shows the state was aware of plots to spread “poison” against other bidders in the running before Qatar won the right to host the tournament.

It is alleged the plotters even planned for a US Congress resolution highlighting the harmful effects of the US bid and paid a professor $9,000 to draft a report highlighting the economic burden it would create for the country.

The leaked documents also revealed that a group of American PE teachers had been recruited to ask congressmen to oppose a US World Cup on the grounds the money would be better spent on high school sports. 

In Australia grassroots protests were organized at rugby games in Australia opposing the country's bid, the Sunday Times claimed.

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.”

There is now bound to be speculation that if the allegations are proven and linked directly to the bid team then it could increase the risk of Qatar being sensationally stripped of the event.

British MP and long-time critic of the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, Damian Collins, has called for an independent investigation into the allegations. 

"If the Qataris have broken the rules, they should face some sanctions,” he told BBC Radio Five Live. 

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has rejected all the paper’s claims. In a statement, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it “rejected each and every allegation put forward by the Sunday Times.

“We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by US attorney Michael Garcia.

“We have strictly adhered to all FIFA’s rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.”


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 16 min 7 sec ago
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).