Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Russia and Qatar deny bribery allegations of securing World Cup hosting rights

Officials from Russia and Qatar have hit back at an indictment from the United States that alleges they secured World Cup hosting rights through bribery.

On Monday the US Department of Justice unsealed an indictment that alleges Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA executive committee members to secure hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.

The indictments followed on from the Department of Justice's round of indictments in 2015 that eventually led to the resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Despite the action taken by the American government, the Kremlin has insisted that it did nothing wrong in its bidding process to host the 2018 World Cup.

"Russia absolutely legally got the right to organise the World Cup," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.​

Peskov added that the decision to award Russia the hosting rights was "not linked to any bribes, we categorically deny this."

"Russia organised the best football World Cup in history. We are proud of it. We have read the articles in the media. We do not understand what it is about," Peskov concluded.

According to the indictment, Former Concacaf president Jack Warner was promised and received payments totalling $5 million (£4m) to vote for Russia to host the 2018 tournament.

Additionally, Rafael Salguero, the former head of Guatemalan football, is alleged to have been promised a $1m bribe to vote for Russia.

Meanwhile, Qatari officials have also strongly denied any wrongdoing in their process to win hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.

"Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) strongly denies the allegations contained within the court papers made public in the US on April 6 2020. They are part of a long-standing case, the subject of which is not the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process," an official statement said.

"Despite years of false claims, evidence has never been produced to demonstrate that Qatar won the rights to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 unethically or by means that contravened FIFA’s strict bidding rules," the statement continued.

"The SC maintains that it strictly adhered to all rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process and any claim to the contrary is baseless and will be fiercely contested.”

The U.S. indictment alleges that Ricardo Teixeira, the former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, the now-deceased ex-COMNEBOL president Nicolas Leoz and a co-conspirator were offered and received bribes to ensure their votes for Qatar to stage the 2022 World Cup.


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