Report: Qatar to be cleared of World Cup bid corruption allegations
FIFA will clear Qatar of wrongdoing during the 2022 World Cup bid process when its independent ethics adjudicator releases his report on Thursday, the BBC reports.
The adjudicator, Hans Joachim Eckert, is expected on Thursday to release his summary of independent investigator Michael Garcia's examination of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process. The Sunday Times reported earlier this year that former soccer official Mohamed bin Hammam had given millions to secure votes for the tiny Gulf state.
Bin Hammam, a former Asian Football Confederation president, was banned from soccer for life for offering bribes in his campaign to unseat Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
Qatar's bid committee has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, with the country's sports minister saying this week that the 2022 World Cup will be "almost impossible to beat." But allegations of vote-trading and other forms of corruption have marred the bid process since it concluded.
FIFA awarded Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively, in a December 2010 vote. Neither country was considered a favorite to win its bid, particularly because England was vying for 2018 and the United States was aiming to host in 2022.
The behavior of several bidding nations -- including Qatar, Russia, Australia and England -- will be examined in the report, according to The Guardian.
England officials reportedly cooperated extensively with Garcia's investigation, meaning that Eckert's report will likely focus disproportionately on FIFA. Conversely, Russia did not cooperate with the investigation and reportedly said that its computer systems were destroyed after winning the bid, making it difficult to track emails and other evidence, according to The Guardian.
Allegations of bribery have not been the only criticism levied at Qatar's World Cup. Qatar has also been criticized for its poor treatment of migrant workers, who are building infrastructure for the tournament in the country. Around 4,000 workers are projected to die by time the tournament starts in 2022.
Qatar's summers are also unsuitable for play, meaning the tournament will likely be moved to winter months. But moving the tournament would disrupt the calendar for club play as well as potentially the Winter Olympics.
The Gulf state has also been criticized for its treatment of gay individuals, its alcohol policy and its alleged financial ties to terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as well as Hamas.
- Stanley Kay