The award of the forthcoming World Cup to Qatar has long been controversial. Allegations of bribery could not be proven. Now there are indications that Qatar has violated further FIFA regulations.

The host of the next FIFA World Cup, Qatar, is once again facing serious accusations in connection with the controversial awarding of the World Cup. According to the British newspaper Sunday Times, Qatar has deliberately disseminated false information about its opponents. Qatar would thus have violated the FIFA rule that applicants may not comment on the applications of other countries in any way.

According to the report, the Gulf State Bid Committee had commissioned former agents of the CIA and a PR firm to spread fake propaganda about Qatar’s main rivals Australia and the USA. The Sunday Times cites e-mails it received from a whistleblower.

Qatari leadership well informed

In the course of the campaign, celebrities, among others, were hired to give the impression that the respective applications had no support in their own country. FIFA, the world football association, attaches great importance to the fact that there is broad support among the population for the bid to host the World Cup.

A letter to Ali al-Thawadi, Vice-Chairman of the Bid Committee, showed that the Qatari leadership was aware of this secret strategy.

Fake resolution for US Congress
In order to eliminate the USA as a rival, a resolution for the US Congress had even been planned on behalf of Qatar. In it, the “harmful” effects of the World Cup bid had been presented. In addition, a US professor had received 9000 US dollars (equivalent to about 7700 euros) in order to prepare a report on the economic burden on the United States caused by the World Cup.

The Qatari Organizing Committee rejected “any allegations”. “We strictly adhered to all FIFA rules in the bidding process for the 2018/2022 World Cup,” said the Supreme Committee.

Qatar has been criticised for a long time

Qatar has been under criticism since the surprising World Cup surcharge in December 2010. FIFA investigations have shown that large sums of bribes were paid during the World Cup. The investigation, led by the former head of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Michael Garcia, had revealed many more suspicious details, but had not been able to prove bribery of the electors. Qatar was also criticised for exploiting large numbers of guest workers for the construction of football stadiums.

FIFA referred to the Garcia report when asked about the allegations. Complaints “concerning possible breaches of the FIFA Code of Ethics” could be reported through a confidential system, the world association continued.