Qatar bid needs probing, says German chief

German Football Association president Theo Zwanziger has called on FIFA to re-examine the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.Organisers of the Qatar bid denied any claims of wrongdoing on Monday, after suggestions the Arab nation ‘bought’ the right to host the event.

FIFA has been besieged with allegations of corruption over the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively, after two FIFA officials were banned following an undercover newspaper report discovered they planned to sell their votes.

Zwanziger told German television station ZDF that there was enough uncertainty surrounding the bidding process to warrant Qatar’s hosting rights being revisited.

“I think there is a significant degree of suspicion that one cannot just dismiss,” Zwanziger said.

“And that is why I reckon that the awarding of this World Cup must be re-examined with regard to these concerns.”

“I do not want to comment on how that might happen until I know more about the matter. I am an outsider and not a member of the (FIFA) Executive Committee.”

Zwanziger said he would be voting for Sepp Blatter to be re-elected as president at Wednesday’s FIFA Congress in Zurich, but only because there was no other choice.

Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, had been due to run against Blatter but pulled out on Sunday amid allegations he and CONCACAF president Jack Warner offered to pay committee members for their vote in the poll.

Bin Hammam and Warner – also FIFA vice-president – were subsequently suspended from all football activity by FIFA, leaving Blatter the only candidate for the role.

Zwanziger said Blatter ‘is surely not the man of the future’, and added that ‘what has happened over the last few weeks is a scandal’.

But the chairman of the Qatar Football Association has moved to distance his nation’s successful World Cup bid from the allegations surrounding Bin Hammam.

Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmad Al Thani said the decision to award the tournament to Qatar had no link to the suspended president of the Asian Football Confederation.

“Since Bin Hammam became candidate in the FIFA presidential elections, the two matters of his candidacy and the Qatari World Cup-winning bid have been separated,” Al Thani said.

“I cannot see any relation between the two. Maybe the media have linked them to each other, but I can assure you that there is no link.”

“Bin Hammam’s initiative to take part in the FIFA presidential elections is a democratic right in the democratic environment FIFA is in.”

“Anyone can nominate themselves in any position.”

“Qatar’s 2022-winning bid is a happy story, and now we set up a committee to be in charge of 2022 projects. Therefore, there is no need to talk about this subject because the matter has been decided.”

 


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