Qatar not cowed by World Cup corruption claims

Doha
More allegations regarding the Qatar 2022 World Cup have emerged today. Photo: PA

The organising committee of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar remains confident of holding on to hosting rights for the tournament despite further allegations over the propriety of the bidding process.

The response by the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy came shortly after one of the World Cup's main sponsors called on the game's global governing body FIFA to properly investigate the ongoing corruption allegations.

Electrical goods manufacturer Sony, one of six businesses listed as a FIFA 'partner', putting it into the highest category of World Cup backers, has stated that FIFA must ensure it abides by "its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play".

The statement from Qatar read: "There is an ongoing investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process, with which we have fully co-operated. Consistent with FIFA's rules we have been asked to refrain from commenting on the investigation and we will comply with that request.

"Qatar has won the bid on its merits and we are confident that at the end of the appropriate process, the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar will stand."

Sony's move will increase pressure on FIFA to order a re-vote, although the organisation's president Sepp Blatter has called for patience while FIFA's chief investigator Michael Garcia completes his assessment of the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Blatter said on Twitter: "Never ignoring media reports on ethics allegations in football. But let the Ethics Committee work!"

The Sunday Times this week published further allegations regarding disgraced former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam, claiming it has received "hundreds of millions" of documents related to payments he authorised to football officials.

Sony told the British newspaper: "As a FIFA partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately.

"We continue to expect FIFA to adhere to its principles of integrity, ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations."

Another FIFA 'partner', German sportswear company adidas, also appeared to express unease with the process via a reported statement sourced on social media on Sunday.

However, its content, including the assertion that "the negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners" mirrored exactly a statement issued by the company in May 2011, when corruption allegations concerning Bin Hammam and the then FIFA vice-president Jack Warner first surfaced.

An adidas spokesperson was not immediately available for clarification or comment.