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World Cup Jiggery Pokery

World Cup 2018 & 2022: More bidding process corruption claims

More allegations of corruption during the bidding process to stage the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 have been made.

The House of Commons Culture Media and Sport select committee has published previously unseen material submitted to it by the Sunday Times newspaper.

It draws on claims by senior sources that officials connected to England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup ran an intelligence-gathering operation against rival nations.

Russia and Qatar won the bids.

BBC sports editor Dan Roan

“Closure for Fifa seems a long, long way off. This tawdry saga shows no sign of abating, and it shames the game – and those that run it.”

Read more

This submission by the Sunday Times outlines how England 2018 executives compiled a database of rumours and intelligence – gathered by private companies and, significantly, British embassies.

There is, however, no clear evidence supplied by the paper.

Instead, its submission provides detailed accounts of how votes were allegedly bought and sold in the build-up to the December 2010 poll – and how Fifa’s opaque rules for bidding nations were exploited.

The paper claims Russia’s President Vladimir Putin played a major role in his country’s winning bid, even, it says, enlisting Fifa’s president Sepp Blatter to help lobby for votes.

Another claim suggests the Russia bid had lobbied for the support of Michel Platini – the Uefa president and voter – by giving him a painting believed to have been a Picasso.

There are also allegations about Qatar, and how its dominance in the natural gas industry helped it secure votes through bilateral trade deals.

Russia, the 2018 World Cup hosts, and Qatar, who will hold the 2022 tournament, have always denied any wrongdoing, and a recent, albeit disputed, summary of a Fifa inquiry cleared them.

The Football Association said in a statement: “The Fifa Ethics Committee made specific requests and responding to these requests involved searching in excess of 500,000 documents.

“The search parameters were established with Mr Garcia’s office. The documents searched included intelligence gathered by the bid team. All documents within the search parameters were disclosed.

“In addition Andy Anson has confirmed that any intelligence that he believed could be substantiated was shared with Mr Garcia in his interview and that everything else was hearsay, gossip and rumour.”

Culture Media and Sport select committee chairman John Whittingdale MP has told BBC Sport that, in light of the Sunday Times submission, he would like to hear from FA executives to ascertain if the ‘database’ exists and, if so, for them to outline its contents.

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