Qatar accused of sabotage campaign with ex-CIA agents to secure World Cup hosting rights

The British newspaper says that it has obtained documents which show that Qatar, the first Arab country to ever host the World Cup, secured the services of a US-based PR firm, as well as the former agents, with the aim of provoking a negative public reaction to the rival bids.

The alleged goal of the campaign was to create a narrative that the bids, also including those of South Korea and Japan, were not being adequately supported domestically. Qatar was awarded the tournament in 2010.

The Qatari tournament organizers have rejected the claims which, if true, would contravene FIFA’s bidding rules, which forbid “any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association.

The report contains several allegations, including paying a US academic to write a detailed report on the negative financial repercussions of hosting a World Cup, and lobbying US Congressmen to suggest that the bid money would be better spent on high school sports.

FIFA has completed a two-year inquiry into corruption related to Qatar’s World Cup bid, after which they were cleared, but these documents were not available during that process, per the BBC.

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