Interpol dismisses claim it ordered inquiry into World Cup bids

It follows a report by the Sunday Times newspaper that it wanted an investigation led by FIFA’s Chief Investigator Michael J Garcia.

International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has dismissed as baseless allegations by the Sunday Times newspaper that it had called for an investigation led by FIFA’s Chief Investigator Michael J Garcia into the World Cup 2022 bids, it was reported.

The British daily has falsely reported that Interpol had called for a criminal inquiry as no such call was made, the organisation said, according to a report by Qatar News Agency.

Interpol said it had said clearly on several occasions that it supported FIFA inquiries headed by Garcia, a former US prosecutor and that it believed allegations of criminal corruption should be thoroughly investigated wherever they occur.

Interpol’s standpoint was again underlined by Secretary-General Ronald K Noble during an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest on June 13. Noble emphasised that Garcia is an experienced, thorough and expert investigator and his findings and recommendations should be accepted and implemented by FIFA.

Garcia has seen most of the evidence published by British newspapers alleging that Mohamed bin Hammam bought influence for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.

“The vast majority of that material has been available to us for some time,” Garcia told the FIFA Congress of 209 member countries last Wednesday.

In a statement on Sunday, the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee said Bin Hammam had no association with it and denied any suggestion of wrongdoing. The panel said it was co-operating with the investigation led by Garcia.

Qatari organisers have “vehemently” denied accusations their successful bid was corrupt.

The Sunday Times claimed it had obtained millions of documents which show former FIFA executive committee member Bin Hammam made payments of around $5m to football officials in return for votes for Qatar.

In the last week, sponsors Adidas, Sony and Visa have called on FIFA to deal thoroughly with allegations of bribery to secure the 2022 World Cup for Qatar. The Gulf state has denied any wrongdoing.

Qatar beat bids from Australia, Japan, the United States and South Korea for the right to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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