World Cup inquiry clears Qatar, English FA criticised

World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar have been cleared of corruption allegations, but the English Football Association has been accused of flouting bidding rules in its attempt to stage the 2018 World Cup.

Qatar faced a number of claims surrounding its bid, but the Gulf state is now in the clear.
However, a Fifa report says the English FA behaved improperly when trying to win the backing of a key voter.
Fifa’s long-awaited report ends talk of a re-vote. In a statement, football’s world governing body welcomed the fact that “a degree of closure has been reached”.
However, the FA baulked at the criticism levelled at it, insisting it had “conducted a transparent bid”.
A statement read: “We do not accept any criticism regarding the integrity of England’s bid or any of the individuals involved.”
The news that the FA has been criticised is a surprise given that it has repeatedly called for transparency in the voting process and accused Fifa of not doing enough to stamp out corruption.
The FA is accused of trying to “curry favour” with former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, who quit his role in 2011 amid bribery allegations.

World Cup 2022: Qatar cleared of corruption by Fifa

Individuals involved in England’s bid could now face action following the conclusion of the two-year inquiry, which was led by American lawyer Michael Garcia.
Fifa’s report, which also looks at the conduct of other bidding nations for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, makes a number of damaging points about the conduct of England officials.
In particular, it says England’s bid team tried to win the support of Warner, who is from Trinidad & Tobago, by:

  • Trying to help “a person of interest to him” find a part time job in the United Kingdom
  • Letting the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 squad hold a training camp in the UK in the summer of 2009
  • Sponsoring a gala dinner for the Caribbean Football Union, at a cost of $55,000, around £35,000

In the 42-page report, Hans Joachim Eckert, Fifa’s independent ethics adjudicator, writes that England’s bid team “showed a willingness, time and again” to meet Warner’s expectations.
By doing so, it damaged “the image of Fifa and the bidding process”.

David Beckham, Prince William and David Cameron joined the bid team when voting took place

David Beckham, Prince William and David Cameron joined England’s bid team when voting took place

Prince William, Prime Minister David Cameron and David Beckham joined England’s bid team when voting took place in Zurich in December 2010.
They met Fifa delegates privately and attended the ceremony to announce the winners.
At the time, Prince William, who is president of the FA, said he was “immensely proud” to have been part of England’s bid.
Fifa’s inquiry looked at the conduct of all nine bidding teams who were trying to win the right to stage either the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
It was initiated after a number of corruption allegations were made once voting had taken place in 2010.
Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating off England as well as joint bids by the Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal.

2018 World Cup voting

Round 1 Round 2
Russia 9 13 (majority)
Spain/Portugal 7 7
Netherlands/Belgium 4 2
England 2

England won just two votes after expressing high hopes of winning.
To much surprise, Qatar were awarded the 2022 tournament, edging out Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
Qatar were subsequently accused of paying Fifa officials £3m to secure backing for its bid.
However, they have now been cleared of wrongdoing, although the report said that there were “certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals”.
It concluded that payments by former Fifa vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam were judged to be for the disgraced Qatari’s personal political interests, not the 2022 bid.

2022 World Cup voting

R1 R2 R3 R4
Qatar 11 10 11 14 (majority)
USA 3 5 6 8
S Korea 4 5 5
Japan 3 2
Australia 1

Qatari officials said they were busy digesting the contents of the report, but, in a statement, commented: “We co-operated fully with the ethics committee’s investigation and continue to believe that a fair and appropriate review will demonstrate the integrity and quality of our bid.”
The report also recommended that Fifa should improve the bidding process for future World Cups, urging it to adopt a “more open and transparent rotation system”.
It also said members of Fifa’s executive committee should be forbidden from visiting bidding nations and report any gifts they received.
In a statement, Fifa said it welcomed the recommendations, adding that it had “already revised the host selection process” for the World Cup.
It also said it would support any plans to open “future cases against officials based on the information obtained during this investigation”.
Credit: BBC

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