British MPs call for probe into 2022 World Cup bid

British MPs call for probe into 2022 World Cup bid

LONDON - Agence France-Presse

British lawmakers yesterday called for an independent investigation into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups despite a ‘whistleblower’ retracting allegations that Qatar paid bribes to FIFA members.

The culture, media and sport (CMS) committee said FIFA’s reforms announced last month were “encouraging” but that football’s world body still needed a full inquiry into allegations of past misconduct.

Committee member Damian Collins also believes there should be a separate investigation into FIFA member Mohamed Bin Hammam’s activities in football after he was banned for life for bribery while running for FIFA president in May.

Bin Hammam played a key role in Qatar’s success in winning the 2022 World Cup bid in December, but the bid denies any suggestion of wrongdoing.

The CMS report states: “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.” In relation to the Bin Hammam ban, it adds: “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.” Collins went further, calling for a separate inquiry into Bin Hammam.

He told Britain’s Press Association: “I think there should be an independent investigation into Mohamed Bin Hammam’s activities in football. It also seems strange that if you try to run against Sepp Blatter they throw the book at you but nothing has happened in relation to the World Cup bid allegations.

“The reforms all seem to be moving at a very pedestrian pace, and that’s why we have called for urgent progress.” Collins believes FIFA should announce that all members should declare all financial interests to demonstrate any possible conflicts of interest.

The committee had also called on the FA to conduct their own review of England’s disastrous bid for the 2018 tournament when they only secured two votes, and one from their own FIFA member Geoff Thompson.