World Cup bid probe set to clear Qatar but take aim at England

Frank Dalleres
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QATAR’S controversial but successful bid to stage the 2022 World Cup is expected to be exonerated of serious wrongdoing today by governing body Fifa’s official investigation.

But England are expected to be criticised for their approach to bidding for the 2018 tournament, which was awarded to Russia.

German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert is this morning due to reveal his conclusions following a two-year probe into widespread claims of corruption surrounding the bidding processes.

Qatar’s bid has been the subject of intense scrutiny since its unexpected success in 2010, with allegations that Fifa officials received bribes totalling £3m in order to vote in its favour.

Officials from the Gulf state’s bid team have always strenuously denied the claims and distanced themselves from Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari Fifa executive committee member at the centre of the allegations.

Eckert, who is set to publish a summary of his findings based on an investigation by American lawyer Michael Garcia, is expected to clear Qatar of any wrongdoing serious enough to warrant stripping the country of the right to host the tournament.

England’s Football Association, however, is braced for criticism over its conduct during its failed 2018 bid.

It has been criticised for its courting of Jack Warner, the former Fifa vicepresident who resigned in 2011 after being suspended pending an investigation into bribery claims.

Garcia, the head of Fifa’s ethics committee’s investigatory chamber, interviewed figures involved in all nine bids for both tournaments.

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