The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has become the focus of fresh FIFA corruption allegations after the release of a new United States Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment.
The fresh indictment says bribes were paid to football officials to secure their votes for the 2022 hosting rights.
Suspicion and rumours have long surrounded both the 2010 vote by FIFA’s executive committee to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
But on Monday, for the first time, prosecutors set direct, formal allegations down in print.
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 World Cup organisers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar and Russia’s World Cup bids have always denied paying bribes.
FIFA said in a statement 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.
“So 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.
“As the respective criminal cases are ongoing, we are not in a position to comment further for the time being.”
Although FIFA has reacted to previous media allegations about the Qatar bid process by insisting the tournament would be unaffected, the US allegations would lead to further questions.
The tournament is scheduled for November and December 2022.
The indictment states that the three South American members of FIFA’s 2010 executive committee took bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament. (Reuters)