Russia and Qatar could lose the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup events if evidence is presented that bribes bought the votes to award their bids.
In an interview with a Swiss publication, the Sonntagszeitung weekly, FIFA compliance chief Domenico Scala said, “should evidence be present that the awarding to Qatar and Russia only came about with bought votes, then the awarding could be void.”
Whispers of foul play heard after December 1, when FIFA chose Russia and Qatar to host soccer’s most prominent global competition, are bandied about more openly now that FIFA is embroiled in a massive scandal, which involves allegations that bribery helped determine the hosts of earlier World Cups. The United States has indicted 14 people, including nine top FIFA officials, on corruption charges.
FIFA had portrayed the ongoing investigation as a progressive step for the world soccer body. Russia, the world’s largest country, and Qatar, a small Middle Eastern nation, would be new frontiers for the world’s favorite tournament.
The CEO of Russia World Cup 2018 told CNN’s Matthew Chance last week that Russia plans to continue to prepare to organize the event. Alexesy Sorokin said that Russia’s bid was transparent.
“It was clean,” he said. “It didn’t transgress any FIFA practices, any practices applicable to the bidding process. What else can we say?”
And Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy released a statement last week, saying, “The recent events at FIFA will not impact on our preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”