Qatar World Cup bid organisers say they have “nothing to hide”
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:50
Reuters: The organisers of Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup have denied allegations that they gained unfair advantage by bribing soccer officials who would decide which country staged the biggest, and most lucrative event in the sporting calendar.
In their most robust defence yet of their campaign to host the tournament, Qatar 2022 criticised allegations of corruption that have emerged in recent weeks, overshadowing the buildup to the Brazilian World Cup, which began on Thursday.
Qatar has always denied that its bid was improper, but the latest statement was particularly strongly-worded, suggesting a renewed push to avert any attempt to strip it of the tournament.”These allegations are baseless and riddled with innuendo designed to tarnish the reputation of Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee,” the organisers said.
They added that the allegations appeared to be deliberately timed to coincide with an investigation by FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Russia won the right to host the 2018 tournament.
Michael 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. “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.”