Russia, Qatar and England accused of breaking Fifa rules over World Cup bids

Documents sent to British parliament relate to 2018 and 2022 bids

 Fifa president Sepp Blatter waves to the crowd at a ground breaking ceremony for a national team training centre in  Manila, Philippines. Photograph: Dennis M Sabangan/EPA

Fifa president Sepp Blatter waves to the crowd at a ground breaking ceremony for a national team training centre in Manila, Philippines. Photograph: Dennis M Sabangan/EPA

 

Russia, Qatar and England have all been accused of breaking Fifa rules during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in a document published by the British parliament.

A dossier compiled by the Sunday Times and published by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee accuses Russia and Qatar of engaging in vote-trading and vote-buying while England’s 2018 bid are alleged to have engineered a failed vote-swap with their counterparts in the South Korea 2022 bid.

All three organisations have always denied any wrongdoing in their bids to host the tournaments, and a report published recently by Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s ethics committee, cleared Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments respectively.

The Sunday Times claims the allegations it submitted to parliament were contained within a database which it says was compiled by England’s 2018 bidding team.

The chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, John Whittingdale, admitted none of the allegations in the Sunday Times dossier had been proven but said they gave the impression of Fifa being a “deeply corrupt organisation”.

“Today we have published the latest evidence (the Sunday Times) have given to us which does suggest that the (Football Association) themselves compiled a very substantial amount of information suggesting corrupt practices in the process,” he told Sky News.

“Also suggesting that England was involved in some kind of collusion as well during that process. These are questions that need to be answered.

“What it is alleged England have been doing is mild compared to the allegations made against some of the other nations but nevertheless it is obviously serious, it is a breach of the rules, and therefore we will want to know whether or not it is true and how the FA justify it.

“When we last spoke to the FA we asked whether or not they had any further evidence of corrupt practices and they said they didn’t.

“So that in itself is worrying because it now appears that they were sitting on this dossier which contains substantial evidence.

“I think they were obviously reluctant to reveal what had been going on in terms of the investigations and obviously a lot of it is reports and hearsay. It isn’t necessarily hard evidence, it isn’t proven.

“But nonetheless, when it is taken together with all the other evidence that has already been accumulated it does paint a picture of (Fifa as) a deeply corrupt organisation and that the whole of the World Cup bidding process was completely flawed.”

He added: “We need to really have a new start with the whole process and (Fifa) need to rewrite the rules.”

The latest revelations come while three current Fifa executive committee members plus former member Franz Beckenbauer are under investigation by ethics investigator Michael Garcia.

Spain’s Angel Maria Villar Llona, Michel D’Hooghe from Belgium and Worawi Makudi from Thailand are among the names being looked at by Garcia for possible ethics code breaches, according to sources close to the world governing body.

Beckenbauer is also under investigation by American attorney Garcia along with Harold Mayne-Nicholls from Chile, who headed the inspection team which compiled reports into the countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Garcia and German judge Eckert released a joint statement on November 20th confirming a number of individuals were under investigation.

Earlier this month Eckert cleared Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups saying rule breaches by the bidding countries were “of very limited scope”.

Garcia responded by notifying Fifa that he intended to lodge an appeal against the decision due to ”numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts”.

Fifa has also lodged a separate criminal complaint with the Swiss attorney general.

The FA released a statement on Sunday afternoon which read: “The FIFA ethics committee made specific requests and responding to these requests involved searching in excess of half a million documents.

“The search parameters were established with Mr Garcia’s office. The documents searched included intelligence gathered by the bid team. All documents within the search parameters were disclosed.

“In addition (England 2018 bid chief executive) Andy Anson has confirmed that any intelligence that he believed could be substantiated was shared with Mr Garcia in his interview and that everything else was hearsay, gossip and rumour.”

Speaking at an event in the Philippines, a defiant Fifa president Sepp Blatter declared there was no moving the 2022 World Cup from Qatar, despite widespread concerns about the bidding process that took the tournament to the Middle East for the first time.

“2022, it is Qatar, and ladies and gentleman, believe me, with all that has been said around the world by whom? Those not involved with what happens in football. The World Cup in 2022 will be played in Qatar,” the 78-year-old Swiss told Asian Football Confederation members in Manila to cheers and applause.

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