The organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have strongly denied allegations from the U.S. Department of Justice that bribes were paid to secure votes for the hosting rights to the tournament.
Suspicion and rumours have long surrounded both the 2010 vote by FIFA’s executive to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
Yet on Monday, for the first time, prosecutors set direct, formal allegations regarding both tournaments down in an indictment.
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 (SC), rejected the charges.
“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.”
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 U.S. criminal proceedings.
“The FIFA Ethics Committee has already imposed sanctions, including life bans, on football officials mentioned in this process,” said a FIFA spokesman.