FIFA probe finds no improper activity by Qatar in 2022 World Cup bid

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 28.06.2017 09:47
Updated 28.06.2017 17:01
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After years of intrigue about allegedly corrupt World Cup bidding, FIFA published an investigation report late Tuesday that showed there was no "evidence of any improper activity" by Qatar during a bid to host the 2022 tournaments.

FIFA published investigator Michael Garcia's 430-page dossier less than 24 hours after Germany's biggest-selling daily Bild began reporting extracts from a leaked copy it received.

The full report verified the broad conclusions of a summary of Garcia's work published by FIFA in November 2014.

In the report, Garcia wrote that Qatar "may not have met the standards set out in the FIFA code of ethics or the bid rules" but added, in mitigation, that it only was due to its cooperation that the issues were uncovered.

Qatar's 2022 World Cup organizers have welcomed a long-awaited FIFA report on the race to host the tournament, saying the conclusions represented "a vindication of the integrity" of Doha's bid.

"Although we question the timing of the leak, we welcome the publication of the Garcia report," Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said in a statement.

"We believe that the extent of our cooperation with this investigation and the conclusions drawn represent a vindication of the integrity of our bid."

Garcia's report, also noted that all the main bid teams "operated in an environment where a number of (voters) did not hesitate to exploit a system that in certain respects did not bind them to the same rules applicable to bid teams," adding that, "leaders of if not all, 2018 and 2022 bid nations" personally met FIFA executives.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met six of 22 FIFA voters before the December 2010 elections.

Meanwhile, in helping the United States' bid, then-President Barack Obama hosted a total of three FIFA voters at the White House in two separate visits. Former President Bill Clinton was lobbying voters in Zurich until hours before they gave Qatar a 14-8 win.

Qatar said earlier this month a rift with fellow Gulf Arab states that includes economic sanctions on Doha has not affected its preparations to host the World Cup, and alternative sources for construction materials had been secured.

FIFA has said it is in "regular contact" with Qatar, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting Iran and funding "terrorist groups." Qatar denies the charges.

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