Fifa clears Qatar of corruption for World Cup bid

Fifa clears Qatar of corruption for World Cup bid

The Fifa and Qatar World Cup organisers have been fending off allegations of corruption ever since the Gulf state was awarded the 2022 tournament.



By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 14 Nov 2014, 9:29 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 10:44 PM

A file picture taken on December 2, 2010 shows Fifa President Sepp Blatter holding up the name of Qatar during the official announcement of the 2022 World Cup host country at the Fifa headquarters in Zurich. AFP

London — The Fifa cleared Russia and Qatar on Thursday of wrongdoing in their bids to host the World Cup, but the former US prosecutor who led the investigation by soccer’s governing body said it had misrepresented his findings.

A German judge who ruled on behalf of the soccer body’s ethics committee said he found no grounds sufficient to reopen the bidding process for the 2018 cup in Russia and the 2022 cup in Qatar.

But former US attorney Michael Garcia, hired by the Fifa to head an investigation into the bids, said he would appeal against the committee’s conclusion. “Today’s decision by the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber’s report,” said Garcia.

The Fifa and Qatar World Cup organisers have been fending off allegations of corruption ever since the Gulf state was awarded the 2022 tournament. Garcia was hired by Fifa and spent more than a year combing through allegations of bribes paid and favours given to the international soccer officials who made the decisions, not just by the winning countries but by other bidders as well.

Instead of issuing his own report, he presented his findings to the Fifa, which issued its own ruling. Ethics committee chief adjudicator Hans-Joachim Eckert, for his part, ruled any improprieties uncovered by Garcia were too minor to require new bidding. “The effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it,” Eckert’s statement said. “The assessment of the 2018/2022 Fifa World Cups bidding process is therefore closed.”

The Fifa welcomed Eckert’s report and said it was looking forward to continuing the preparations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, “which are already well under way”.


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