BELO HORIZONTE: Interpol had denied a report that it has demanded a criminal inquiry into the circumstances of the bid for the 2022 World Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Qatar was awarded host rights to the finals in December 2010, at the same time as the executive committee of world football federation FIFA awarded the 2018 finals to Russia.
The bids had been run in parallel, prompting accusations of double dealing and leading to the suspensions of six then present and past members of the exco over allegations of favours-for-votes.
Qatar’s hosting of 2022 finals has been surrounded by controversy ever since because of the searing summer temperatures in the Gulf and international concern over the treatment of migrant workers.
Last month The Sunday Times alleged that Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari who had been president of the Asian Football Confederation at the time of the vote, had used a $5m slush fund to influence support for Qatar among senior football officials in Africa and the Caribbean.
Qatar’s World Cup organising committee has always denied any wrongdoing in the bid process which is being investigated by Michael Garcia, FIFA’s independent ethics chairman.
Among the latest claims in the newspaper was a suggestion that Interpol, the international police co-ordinator, had demanded the launch of a criminal investigation into the bid.
Interpol, which has long-term integrity and safety/security contracts with both FIFA and Qatar 2022, has denied this.
A statement said: “The UK’s Sunday Times [has] falsely stated that Interpol has called for a criminal inquiry into the 2022 World Cup bids. No such call was ever made by Interpol.
“Interpol has stated clearly on several occasions that it supports the FIFA inquiries, headed by Michael J Garcia, a former US prosecutor, and that it believes allegations of criminal corruption should be thoroughly investigated wherever they occur.
“Interpol’s standpoint was once again underlined by secretary-general Ronald K Noble during an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest on Friday, June 13, when Mr Noble also emphasized that Mr Garcia is an experienced, thorough and expert investigator and that his findings and recommendations should be accepted and implemented by FIFA.”
Garcia, a New York-based lawyer, was formerly a vice-president of Interpol for the Americas.
Support for the Qatar hosting has come from the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani, its secretary-general, said the GCC believed that Qatar had won the right to host the finals after “honest competition” and that all members were proud and supportive of that success.