Qatar denies allegations of corruption in World Cup 2022 bid

US Department of Justice indictment said bribes were paid to football officials to secure their votes.

qatar 2022 football logo emblem [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
In 2014, FIFA cleared Qatar of wrongdoing in their bid to host the World Cup after an investigation [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Qatar’s World Cup 2022 organisers have denied fresh allegations from the US prosecutors of corruption and bribery to win rights to hosting of the event.

A new US Department of Justice indictment was released on Monday which said bribes were paid to football officials to secure their votes. The indictment, published by a federal court in Brooklyn, accuses media rights handlers and a company from Uruguay of wire fraud and money laundering among other allegations.

According to the prosecutors, representatives working for Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA executive committee officials to swing votes in the crucial hosting decisions of world football’s governing body.

“Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy [organisers of World Cup 2022] strongly denies the allegations contained within the court papers made public in the US on 6 April 2020,” it said in a statement sent to Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

“They are part of a long-standing case, the subject of which is not the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process. Despite years of false claims, evidence has never been produced to demonstrate that Qatar won the rights to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 unethically or by means that contravened FIFA’s strict bidding rules.

“The SC maintains that it strictly adhered to all rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process and any claim to the contrary is baseless and will be fiercely contested.”

In a statement, FIFA, world football’s governing body, said it supported all investigations into “alleged acts of criminal wrongdoing” and noted it had been accorded victim status in the US criminal proceedings.

“The FIFA Ethics Committee has already imposed sanctions, including life bans, on football officials mentioned in this process,” said a FIFA spokesman.

“As far as FIFA is concerned, should any acts of criminal wrongdoing by football officials be established, the individuals in question should be subject to penal sanctions.”

The indictment states that the three South American members of FIFA’s 2010 executive – Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira, the late Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay and an unnamed co-conspirator – took bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies