LONDON: The remarkable vehemence with which ex-England football official Simon Johnson attacked Qatar’s World Cup clearance may have been due not only to anger at criticism of ‘his team’s’ approach to the bidding process.
Johnson had been chief operating officer of the England 2018 bid rapped over the knuckles by FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert in his summary of US attorney Michel Garcia’s two-year investigation.
Eckert had criticised the England bid on a number of points including the nature of its pursuit of the support of Jack Warner. The Trinidadian was then the president of the central and North American confederation, CONCACAF and also head of the Caribbean Football Union.
On these issues Johnson was interviewed on various broadcasting outlets but deflected questions about criticism of the conduct of the England bid in his eagerness to attack the finals award to Qatar.
However, back at the time of the vote in 2010, England was not in direct competition with the Gulf state: England was bidding for 2018, Qatar for 2022.
Johnson had enjoyed an outstanding career in sports administration. However, not clarified on air by the broadcasters was that, in March of this year, he had become chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, an “umbrella body [in the UK] for Jewish community institutions.”
Johnson had been its acting chief executive since October 2013.
Earlier this autumn the Jewish Chronicle reported that senior Israeli figures had launched a low-key campaign, drawing on international support, against the 2022 World Cup hosting award because the Tel-Aviv government considered Qatar the main backer of Hamas which controls Gaza.
The claim has been denied by Qatar
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