Sweet FA: FIFA clears Qatar & Russia, hits out at England’s World Cup lobby
The English Football Association (FA) has been accused of ‘behaving improperly’ in its attempts to secure the 2018 World Cup as FIFA officially clears Qatar to host the 2022 tournament, despite accusations of corruption in securing its bid.
According to FIFA, England’s World Cup campaign, called England 2018, “violated bidding rules” by trying to woo the former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, offering a friend of his family a job in the UK.
In a report produced by FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee, German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert also said any rule breaches made by Russia and Qatar in their respective bids were “of very limiting scope.”
“In particular, the effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it,” he states in the 42-page report.
According to the report, the UK’s targeting of Warner led to FIFA executives “showering the bid team with inappropriate requests,” which were often obliged.
“England 2018's top officials in response not only provided the individual concerned with employment opportunities, but also kept Mr Warner apprised of their efforts as they solicited his support for the bid,” the report states.
England 2018’s former chief operating officer dismissed FIFA’s criticisms of England, calling them “politically motivated whitewash.”
While the report did highlight irregularities and suspicious behavior from Qatar, activities were “distant” from executives making the World Cup decision, and that the relationship between Qatari former FIFA executive Mohamed Bin Hammam and Warner related exclusively to his bid for the FIFA presidency in 2011.
Russia also came under some criticism for failing to provide copies of all correspondence relating to the bid. However, while some argue that Russia deliberately destroyed email documents, the country’s local organizing committee insists it did not commit any violations, claiming the computers in which the documents were processed were destroyed during the bidding process.
“I was sure that this is what would happen – our bidding
campaign was absolutely honest. We didn’t play any games behind
the scenes. I’m glad that this matter has finally been put to
rest,” said Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko.
READ MORE:FIFA president calls foul, says 2018 World Cup will stay in Russia
FIFA’s decision even garnered controversy among those investigating the bids. Following the report’s publication, a former New York district attorney, Michael Garcia, who spent 18 months investigating the controversial World Cup bids, said FIFA’s decision did not reflect his findings.
“Today’s decision by the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber’s report,” Garcia said.