Qatar ‘manipulated FIFA’s voting members’ during World Cup bidding process – leaked report

Bild has published the first of a series of extracts from the 430-page report, which was written by former FIFA independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia in 2014. The dossier represents one of the biggest investigations ever carried out in the world of sports. 

One extract of the report allegedly states that those seeking to bring the World Cup to Qatar “served to undermine the integrity of the bidding process.”

In particular, the report mentions the role played by Aspire Academy, one of the biggest sports academies in the world, which aims to find and develop Qatari athletes.

It says Aspire Academy was “implicated in a decisive manner in the manipulation of FIFA members who had the right to vote.”

The report also claims that three FIFA executive members were flown to Rio by a private jet provided by the Qatari Football Association, ahead of the vote for 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights.

READ MORE: World Cup 2022 in Qatar will go ahead as planned – FIFA chief

It also states that the 10-year-old daughter of a FIFA official received a deposit of two million Swiss francs (US$2 million) into her bank account months after the ballots were cast.

In addition, the report claims that the husband of one of disgraced former FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s closest aides was handed a contract in Qatar for his construction company.

Meanwhile, Peter Rossberg, the Bild journalist who obtained the copy of the report, wrote on Facebook that the dossier does not provide “proof” that the World Cup in Qatar had been bought.

“It would also be too naive to believe that people like Garcia or [then-deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of FIFA ethics committee Cornel] Borbely would have been able to find a definitive proof of this.”

In another post, Rossberg again stressed that there was no proof that Qatar “bought” the privilege of hosting the World Cup, but said a different conclusion was unlikely.

Although Garcia wrote the report in 2014, it was never published in its entirety. Instead, FIFA executives agreed to publish a “legally appropriate version” of the report.

A 42-page summary of Garcia’s findings was released by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. Those 42 pages cleared Qatar of corruption allegations.

Garcia was unhappy with that summary, saying it contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations.” He resigned in protest in December 2014.

READ MORE: Briton dies working on 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar

Meanwhile, French prosecutors have also been looking into FIFA’s decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, and the 2018 tournament to Russia, a source told Reuters in April. Possible offenses include private corruption, conspiracy, and influence peddling, the source said.

Although the report leaked to Bild reportedly focuses mainly on Qatar, Rossberg did mention Russia in one of his Facebook posts, saying there is also “no proof” that its World Cup award was “bought.”

FIFA and Qatar have also faced scrutiny over the construction of the World Cup stadium, with labor unions claiming employees are being treated unfairly. Amnesty International slammed both bodies last year, stating that workers’ passports had been confiscated and their wages withheld, while being forced to live in squalid accommodation. 

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