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  • The Qatar World Cup bid team has been accused of using a secret "black-ops" campaign to sabotage their rivals for the 2022 World Cup.

    The Qatar World Cup bid team has been accused of using a secret "black-ops" campaign to sabotage their rivals for the 2022 World Cup. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 July 2018

FIFA's rules for hosting a World Cup specifically states that the bids must include a strong support among domestic populations.

The Qatar World Cup bid team has been accused of using a PR agency and former CIA agents in a secret "black-ops" campaign aiming to sabotage their rivals competing for the 2022 World Cup tournament, thus breaking FIFA (the international football organization) rules. This was reported by The Sunday Times, after receiving documents from a whistleblower, who supposedly was part of the bid team. 

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FIFA's rules for hosting a World Cup specifically states that the bids must include a strong support among domestic populations. The alleged campaign used by the Qatar bid team would have been based on diminishing said support. Creating a narrative in which the bids of the United States and Australia mainly, but which also included South Korea and Japan, where not sufficiently supported in those countries.

In addition, FIFA's bidding rules prohibit "any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidacies of any other member association.”

The alleged campaign included reports on the economic cost of a World Cup in the U.S.,  the recruitment of bloggers and journalists to write negative stories promoting these stands in the U.S., Australian and international media, organizing protests by grassroots movements during rugby matches in Australia. 

The documents, leaked to the Sunday Times, also revealed that a group of Physical Education instructors in the U.S. had been recruited to ask congressmen to oppose the World Cup in the country, as the money could have a better use in high school sports programs.

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Qatar's right to stage the World Cup was earned in December 2010. This is the second time that the Qatar World Cup bid team has been accused of corruption, the first time it was absolved after a 2-year investigation. This time around, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has also denied the accusations. "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."

Meanwhile, a statement by FIFA said, "a thorough investigation was conducted by Michael Garcia and his conclusions are available in the report."

However, this new information might not have been part of the aforementioned investigation. which is why many have called for a FIFA investigation into these allegations.


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