LONDON: FIFA has been urged to demand the documents behind allegations that the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid hired former CIA agents to conduct a so called black operations campaign to attack rival World Cup bids.
The Sunday Times 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.
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.
Such moves are against 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.”
Having read the article members of FIFA’s ruling council have told the Telegraph newspaper that they want the governing body’s ethics committee to demand the evidence behind the allegations. The officials, none of whom wanted to be identified, felt the allegations were more than sufficient enough for FIFA to act and investigate, however, they also told the British newspaper that the claims alone were probably not enough for Qatar to be stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup.
Those calls for FIFA to act came on top of British politicians’ pleas asking the Zurich-based body to also act. Lord Triesman, former chairman of the Football Association and England 2018 bid chairman, urged FIFA to “look at the evidence thoroughly,” and said the Gulf state should not host the 2022 tournament if it was proven that its bid broke FIFA rules.
He told the Sunday Times: “I think it would not be wrong for FIFA to reconsider England in those circumstances. We have the capabilities.”
British MP and long-time critic of the decision to award the World Cup to Qatar, Damian Collins, also called for an independent investigation into the allegations.
"If the Qataris have broken the rules, they should face some sanctions,” he said.
Meanwhile, disgraced former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has once again epeated claims that ex-France president Nicolas Sarkozy influenced the 2022 World Cup bidding process in favour of Qatar.
Blatter took to Twitter, writing: “Bad news: Qatar accused of denigration of other bidders! Fact is Qatar won after a political intervention by the former French President Sarkozy to FIFA Vice-President Platini. More information in my book ‚Ma verité‘ chapter 10.”
Then UEFA president Michel Platini cast his vote in favour of the Gulf state but said Sarkozy had not told him to do so either during their well-publicised November 2010 meeting — which was also attended by Qatar's then crown prince — or at any point afterwards.