By Andy Sambidge
UK gov't committee says in report that independent investigation is still needed
British MPs have called for an independent investigation into the bidding for the 2022 World Cup despite a 'whistleblower' retracting claims that Qatar paid bribes to FIFA members.
The UK government's culture, media and sport (CMS) committee said FIFA, football's world body, still needed a full inquiry into allegations of past misconduct.
The CMS report said: "The committee notes that FIFA has received an apparent retraction of the original allegations related to Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.
"While it welcomes the withdrawal of the allegations made by the 'whistleblower', the committee is still concerned that no apparent effort was made by FIFA to investigate these allegations when they were put to it, and that other allegations - specifically those made by ex-England 2018 chairman Lord Triesman in evidence to the committee - remain."
Qatar's former Asian Football Federation president Mohamed bin Hammam was handed a life ban by FIFA after finding him guilty of offering bribes during his campaign for FIFA presidency in May.
Bin Hammam played a key role in Qatar's success in winning the 2022 World Cup bid in December, but the bid denied any suggestion of wrongdoing.
In relation to the Bin Hammam ban, the CMS report added: "Our concern is that the governance failings revealed by this incident are symptomatic of a wider governance failure within FIFA, and we stand by our recommendation that FIFA commission a full, independent investigation of the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and for the outcome to be made public."
In July, the head of Qatar's 2022 bid said public allegations that Qatar bribed FIFA executives to secure its position as host of the 2022 World Cup were a result of “anti-Arab prejudice”.
In an interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Hassan Al Thawadi said there was “not a shred of evidence” to support the claims, and that he was disappointed by the House of Commons select committee’s handling of the situation.
“I do believe there is prejudice against the fact that we are a rich, Arab nation – yes, I think there is genuine prejudice there," he said.
In June, FIFA's Congress approved the creation of a corporate governance and compliance committee.
Last month, FIFA's Congress agreed that this committee would be established at the next meeting of its Executive Committee in December to oversee reforms proposed by three new task forces.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter also announced a good governance road map for reforms to be completed by the 2013 FIFA Congress.
The CMS report said: "We urge FIFA to proceed in a timely and transparent manner that delivers substantive outcomes."