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Has Qatar won the 2022 World Cup bid? 10, November 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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It is no surprise given the staggering amounts of money involved in football and the levels of opacity in its governing bodies that issues of bribery are never far away. When two World Cups are to be decided on the same day, or, to put it another way, when two events each worth many tens of billions of dollars are to be decided on the same day, there are always going to be accusations of wrong-doing.

Two such cases are readily apparent. The first was uncovered by the Sunday Times in the UK. They posed as US investors and acted as if they were buying votes from one of the FIFA Voting Committee members who pledged to vote for the US bid in return for investment in football facilities in his native Nigeria.

Given FIFA’s immense lack of transparency, no one is really sure what has happened about this. Though I did read that the Nigerian FIFA member in question allegedly reported this as a suspicious contact to his bosses immediately…though, if I were him, that’s exactly what I’d say too.

The other case of skullduggery is the rumour that Spain and Qatar entered a deal with each other whereby Qatar would vote for Spain (& Portugal) and their bid for the 2018 World Cup and Spain would reciprocate for Qatar. These rumours have, of course, been denied by both sides. They were, however, rekindled by a note seen by other members at a recent FIFA meeting passed between the Qatari and Spanish FIFA members saying “we’ve won”.

No, it’s not that subtle and yes, it all does sound faintly ridiculous. But then again another rumour suggests that North Korea are going to support South Korea in the voting, so that FIFA’s President – Sepp Blatter – can retire after having brought these two antithetical countries together where world powers have been failing for generations.

The explanation for the note, the existence of which has been confirmed by other FIFA executive members, was that the “we won” referred to the Qatari and the Spanish officials not being prosecuted or otherwise circumscribed for the ‘first set’ of (accused) bribery. What a mightily convenient and neat conclusion.

World Cup bid