LONDON: Sepp Blatter’s attempt to manipulate the awards of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup have come under focus again, this time from the head of the Qatar organisation effort.
Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, raised the issue during an appearance at the Chatham House policy institute in London.
Qatar’s surprise victory in a vote by the executive committee of FIFA in December 2010 has long been a subject of speculation including suggestions that it prompted the United States’ judicial authorities to turn their fire on the world governing body.
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter even accused the then UEFA president, Michel Platini, of switching sides and overturning his preferred outcome of a US World Cup to balance Russia in 2018.
Al Thawadi questioned that Blatter’s admission had been granted little critical attention by comparison with Qatar’s victory to which no negative evidence has ever been attached.
He said: “Blatter [has said] wanted the US to win, regardless of the merits of the bid, regardless of anything else. It’s fascinating that nobody is raising any concerns about that and looking into that one to start off with.
“Yet we faced these questions that other bids don’t have to face.”
In terms of the progress of preparations, Al-Thawadi said stadium construction would cost between $8bn and $10bn and that up to $200bn was being spent on wider essential infrastructure.
He also insisted that the Supreme Committee was stepping up its scrutiny of contractors to ensure appropriate conditions for the Gulf state’s immigrant labout force working on World Cup projects.
He said: “Monitoring enforcement mechanisms are being strengthened on a continuous basis, labour inspector numbers are being increased, site inspections are being increased, and scrutiny of recruitment agencies has been increased.
“However change will not happen overnight and there are many issues on this matter that require further action, and more can be done.”