Qatar Accused of Using ‘Black Operations’ to Win 2022 World Cup Bid

Sepp Blatter, President of the FIFA from 1998 to 2015, announced Qatar as the World Cup host in 2010.
Sepp Blatter, President of the FIFA from 1998 to 2015, announced Qatar as the World Cup host in 2010.

Multi-times accused of fraud Qatar World Cup hosting now faces allegations of “black operations” to win the bid, the British media reported Sunday.

According to AFP, Qatar’s successful, controversy-plagued bid to host the 2022 World Cup has been hit by further allegations that they used a secret “black operations” propaganda campaign to undermine rival bids in violation of FIFA rules, according to The Sunday Times.

The newspaper, which also made allegations in 2014 about Qatar buying the vote but of which they were subsequently cleared after a two-year long FIFA investigation led by American lawyer Michael Garcia, says emails leaked to them by a whistleblower from the bid team show they paid a US-based office of a public relations firm as well as former CIA agents to disseminate “fake propaganda” concerning main rivals Australia and the United States during their campaign to host the 2022 competition.

Qatar, to general surprise, beat the Australian and US bids as well as South Korea and Japan to the right to host the quadrennial football showpiece. Russia was awarded the 2018 edition at the same time, seeing off, amongst others, England.

The gas-rich Persian Gulf Arab state’s strategy was to recruit influential individuals in order to attack bids in their respective countries, creating the impression there was “zero support” to host the World Cup among the population, the paper said.

One of the core criteria considered by FIFA is said to be that the bids should have a strong backing from domestic populations.

Bidders are also prohibited from making “any written or oral statement of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association” under FIFA guidelines.

   All Allegations Rejected

But one of the leaked emails the Times claims to have obtained was sent to Qatar’s deputy bid leader Ali al-Thawadi, and allegedly shows the state was aware of plots to spread “poison” against other bidders in the running before Qatar won the right to host the World Cup in December 2010.

Such actions went as far as planning a resolution for US congress on the “harmful” effects of the American World Cup proposition during the week of the vote, as well as approaching and paying a US professor $9,000 to compose a report on the economic burden the competition would present.

Qatar issued a point blank denial.

In a statement Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it “rejects each and every allegation put forward by the Sunday Times”.

“We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by US attorney Michael Garcia,” it said. “We have strictly adhered to all FIFA’s rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.”

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