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Qatar 2022 Head Denies “Buying” World Cup

Qatar 2022 Head Denies “Buying” World Cup

Hassan Al Thawadi rubbishes corruption allegations and says Qatar won the rights to host the football event due to sheer hard work.

The head of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organising committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi has vehemently denied allegations that the country “bought” the tournament.

In an interview with UK radio station talkSPORT, he said, “We did not buy the World Cup. It’s as simple as that.

“I go back to a lot of people that look at us and say it’s shocking that we won and I go back to the simple thing – why we won. It’s because we worked hard, harder than a lot of people.

“We put heart and soul into this and that’s what frustrates me,” he said.

His remarks follow recent allegations by The Daily Telegraph that a former FIFA executive received millions from a Qatari company soon after the Gulf state was awarded the 2022 World Cup.

According to the report, former FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner received $1.2 million from a company controlled by former Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam in December 2010, weeks after Qatar was awarded hosting rights for the tournament.

Warner’s sons received almost $750,000, while a further $400,000 was paid to one of his employees, the newspaper alleged, citing documents.

According to the report, one document states that the payments are to “offset legal and other expenses”, while a separate letter claims that more than $1 million cover “professional services provided over the period 2005-2010”.

The FBI is investigating Warner and his alleged links to the Qatari bid, the Telegraph report added.

Qatar’s successful World Cup bid has been extremely controversial from the very start, with the country facing numerous allegations.

Last year, The Sunday Times published a report saying Qatar paid millions of dollars to the executive committee to buy votes. The Qatar Football Association “categorically denied” the accusations.

The country’s bid has also been criticised for a slew of other issues including poor workers’ rights, the hot weather and the lack of infrastructure required to host the mega event.

However, Al Thawadi defended Qatar’s capability.

“When we first started, people thought it was a no-go. A lot of people sat down and said, ‘You’re daft, you’re not going to win it’,” he told talkSPORT.

“When we first started we said, ‘Okay, we want to host the World Cup. What’s stopping us’?

“Number one, country size, because we’re a small nation. Okay, fair enough. But we looked back and said, ‘Is that such a bad thing’?

“When you look at South Africa, which was a huge success, when you look at Brazil and Russia, you’re looking at nations where travel is an issue.

“It takes a lot of effort and puts stress on people, whether it’s football players who, after a very stressful season, are expected to play at the highest level, but at the same time looking at fans.

“Can they move from one place to another, looking for accommodation, looking for flights? What we’re saying is, ‘it’s a compact World Cup’. You’re based in one place, in one accommodation, you get to explore, you get to watch more than one game a day.

“The location of Qatar being in the centre [of the world] means it’s easy access. You’ve got a lot of airlines that congregate in this point of the world. It makes it a lot easier for a lot of people to arrive here.”

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