LONDON - FIFA have been urged to reconsider England as potential 2022 World Cup hosts if Qatar are shown to have broken rules with a propaganda campaign to sabotage their rivals.
Qatar’s winning bid used former CIA agents and a PR agency to spread fake propaganda about their main rivals the US and Australia, according to documents leaked to The Sunday Times. FIFA rules forbid bidding countries from "making any statement" about the candidacy of other member associations.
But according to a whistleblower, Qatar was aware of a plot to spread "poison" against its rivals and spent thousands trying to discredit their bids in their own countries ahead of FIFA’s call to award them the tournament in 2010. Now Lord David Triesman, former chairman of the Football Association, is calling on FIFA to step in.
"FIFA’s obligation is to look at the evidence thoroughly and rapidly and have the courage to take what may be a difficult decision," said Triesman, who chaired England’s original bid for the 2018 tournament. "If Qatar is shown to have broken the FIFA rules, then they can’t hold on to the World Cup. I think it would not be wrong for FIFA to reconsider England in those circumstances. We have the capabilities."
Qatari football officials have denied any wrongdoing, stating that they had "strictly adhered to all FIFA’s rules and regulations". Last year, a FIFA report into allegations of corruption in the bidding process made no suggestion that Qatar should lose the right to stage the World Cup, despite detailing numerous attempts to influence voting officials.