DOHA: Organisers of the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar are not worried by the investigation being run by FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia into circumstances surrounding the host award.
That confident clarification has been set out by Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary-general of the 2022 Supreme Committee in this interview published with francsjeux.com:
QUESTION: Michael Garcia is reportedly inquiring into allegations of corruption of some of the executive committee members in the World Cup award process. Are you concerned about the outcome?
Hasan Al Thawadi: No. These allegations have been coming around regularly for the past three years, since we were awarded host rights to the World Cup in 2022. They are always the same. But they are based on nothing. I can assure you that we conducted our bid campaign with full respect at every stage of the process for the rules of FIFA. Everything was transparent . . . We await the conclusions of the investigation without the slightest concern.
How do you explain these allegations?
Qatar is not part of the established history of football and FIFA. We were outsiders . . . But people forget that we went through all the appropriate stages of the application process and were approved at every step of the way. We worked hard to get there.
What were the strengths of Qatar 2022?
They were four. First was our concept of a compact World Cup; for the first time players, media and fans will not have to travel long distances to go from one game to another. Second was our geographic position: Qatar is located in the centre of the world. It is easy to come to Doha from anywhere on the planet.
The third strength: no fewer than three billion viewers worldwide will follow the matches of the World Cup in prime time. Finally, we explained to FIFA that our project incorporated building stadia which, after the World Cup, could be reduced in size and passed on to countries who need such venues.
FIFA has yet to decide if the World Cup will be played in summer or winter. Does that affect your planning?
We planned to organise the World Cup in the summer and we have never hidden the fact that we wanted, with this World Cup, to demonstrate that it was possible to organize such events in our climate. This idea of legacy for future hosts is important to us.
But if FIFA decides to move the date, we can accommodate that without any problems.