‘Russia, Qatar could lose World Cup rights’

The head of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee has reportedly claimed Russia and Qatar could lose the right to host the World Cup if evidence emerges of bribery in the bidding processes.

‘Russia, Qatar could lose World Cup rights’

Over the past two weeks, Fifa has been embroiled in controversy. In late May, seven Fifa officials were arrested in dawn raids at a hotel in Zurich and were charged by US authorities along with two other Fifa officials and five corporate executives over allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracies spanning 24 years.

Despite the arrests, Fifa president Sepp Blatter was re-elected, but on Tuesday the 79-year-old announced his resignation.

The bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals were not subject to any charges announced by US authorities, but the FBI’s on-going investigation into corruption at the world governing body is reported to be set to put those processes under scrutiny.

Both Russia and Qatar have strenuously denied any wrongdoing. England lost out in the 2018 voting process to Russia, along with combined bids from Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium, while Qatar were unexpected 2022 winners ahead of the likes of the US, South Korea, Japan, and Australia.

However, Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee, told Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung if anything untoward was uncovered, there could be the most serious of repercussions. “Should there be evidence that the awards to Qatar and Russia came only because of bought votes, then the awards could be cancelled,” he is quoted as saying in the newspaper.

Fifa continues to find itself at the centre of daily revelations over historic corruption.

The South African Football Association (Safa) has denied claims from Fifa executive committee member Chuck Blazer that it issued bribes to win the vote to host the 2010 World Cup.

American whistleblower Blazer has said he and others took bribes totalling $10m (€9m) for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup and an undisclosed sum for Morocco’s unsuccessful bid to host the 1998 tournament, sworn testimony which is contained in a plea bargain published by the US department of justice.

Safa is angered by the reports and believes they tarnish both the reputation of the organisation and some of the country’s most prominent personalities.

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