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FIFA should hold new vote on 2022 World Cup, say PACE members

The decision to assign the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was so “radically flawed” by illegal payments that FIFA should hold a new vote under cleaned-up procedures, according to a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“Large sums of money” paid to over 30 senior African football officials or their national associations by FIFA’s Qatari Vice-President Mohammed bin Hammam – as revealed by the UK’s Sunday Times – ensured that Qatar received the votes of the African Football Confederation (CAF) representatives at a key meeting on 2 December 2010, said PACE’s Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.

This enabled Qatar to eliminate a number of other Asian bidding countries – Australia, Japan and Korea – whose votes in later rounds ultimately ensured it would win the bid to host the Cup.

The procedure was so “fundamentally undermined by illegality” that it should be re-run using fairer procedures, the parliamentarians said.

The report’s author Michael Connarty (United Kingdom, SOC) said he had been able to examine the documents obtained by the Sunday Times in detail and found the evidence of illegal payments unequivocal.

“Given the structured action of this scale and the sums involved, there can be no doubt that that there was a ‘direct correlation’ between these flagrant irregularities and the outcome of the vote,” he said.

The report, on the reform of football governance, also called on Qatar to respect the basic rights of foreign migrant workers and urged FIFA to encourage this process. It also addressed recommendations for improving transparency and governance to UEFA and other sports organisations.

The report is to be debated in plenary at the assembly’s April session (20-24 April 2015). FIFA President Sepp Blatter will be invited.