DOHA: Qatar’s 2022 World Cup chiefs said yesterday that reports of corruption were a deliberate bid to undermine a FIFA inquiry into their bid. A statement released by Qatar’s Supreme Committee for 2022 said the “leaks” were orchestrated, but did not say who by. The timing of the release of these allegations is no accident,” said the statement, highlighting that the reports coincided with meetings between Qatar officials and FIFA investigation chief Michael Garcia. “It should be clear that these leaks are not an attempt to shine light on the 2018/2022 bidding process. They are, instead, a flagrant attempt to prejudice an ongoing independent investigation,” said the Qatar chiefs.
“While Qatar’s bid committee has honoured Mr Garcia’s request to let the process run its course, our right to a fair hearing has been compromised by certain parties trying to influence Mr Garcia’s investigation,” said the statement. Garcia is due to hand in his report to a FIFA adjudicatory chamber in July. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said no decision on action will be taken before September or October. The Qatar chiefs insisted they have “nothing to hide.” “We have fully co-operated in a completely open and transparent manner with FIFA’s independent ethics committee investigation,” they added. AFP