By Staff writer
Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah says Gulf state is not guilty of vote-trading pacts, will win bid
Asia’s Olympic leader has thrown his weight behind Qatar’s 2022 World Cup attempt amid allegations of vote collusion among bidders.
Ahead of the first day of an ethics hearing in Zurich to determine whether members of FIFA’s executive committee are guilty of accepting bribes, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said he had full confidence in the Gulf state.
"Yes. I still believe. I wish Qatar will have the games," Sheikh Ahmad, a Kuwaiti, said in comments quoted by Associated Press at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, southern China.
"Still, Qatar will have the highest votes for the first round. I believe this."
Qatar is bidding for the 2022 World Cup, alongside the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
FIFA's ethics panel is holding a three-day hearing to determine whether two voters and at least two candidates should be barred from the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests for alleged corruption.
The move follows allegations by the Sunday Times newspaper last month, which published secretly filmed interviews with FIFA officials that suggested voters could be bribed and that bidders were striking vote-trading pacts.
Reynald Temarii of Tahiti and Nigeria's Amos Adamu have since been suspended from the 24-man executive committee. FIFA has not identified which of the nine bidders it is investigating.
Sheikh Ahmad said he was confident that Qatar's bid team would be cleared.
"Until now there's no evidence. Until now there's no result," he said. "But in the end it will be a big competition between all the bidding countries for the World Cup."
FIFA's executive committee is due to select the hosts in a secret ballot on December 2.