A Fifa report says the FA behaved improperly when trying to win the backing of a key voter. Qatar faced a number of claims surrounding its bid, but the Gulf state is now in the clear. In effect, Fifa’s long-awaited report ends talk of a re-vote.
In a statement, football’s world governing body acknowledged the work of the inquiry and thanked those who had co-operated with it. It also welcomed the fact that “a degree of closure has been reached”.
The English FA has however been accused of trying to “curry favour” with former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, who quit his role in 2011 amid bribery allegations.
Individuals involved in England’s bid could now face action following the conclusion of the two-year inquiry, which was led by American lawyer Michael Garcia.
Fifa’s report, which also looks at the conduct of other bidding nations for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, makes a number of damaging points about the conduct of England bid officials.
In particular, it says England’s bid team tried to win the support of Warner, who is from Trinidad & Tobago, by:
Trying to help “a person of interest to him” find a part time job in the United Kingdom;
Letting the Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 squad hold a training camp in the UK in the summer of 2009;
Sponsoring a gala dinner for the Caribbean Football Union, at a cost of $55,000, around £35,000.
In the 42-page report, Hans Joachim Eckert, Fifa’s independent ethics adjudicator, writes that England’s bid team “showed a willingness, time and again” to meet Warner’s expectations. By doing so, it damaged “the image of Fifa and the bidding process”.
The inquiry looked at the conduct of all nine bidding teams who were trying to win the right to stage either the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. It was initiated after a number of corruption allegations were made once voting had taken place in 2010.
Russia won the right to host the 2018 World Cup, beating off England as well as joint bids by the Netherlands/Belgium and Spain/Portugal. England won just two votes after expressing high hopes of winning.
To much surprise, Qatar were awarded the 2022 tournament, edging out Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Qatar were subsequently accused of paying Fifa officials £3m to secure backing for its bid.
However, they have now been cleared of wrongdoing, although the report said that there were “certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals”