Qatar has dimissed the latest allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar 2022 communications chief Nasser Al Khater said “reader fatigue” was setting in after a British newspaper printed fresh claims of vote-rigging by both Qatar and 2018 hosts Russia.
He said it was significant that the Sunday Times took advantage parliamentary privilege (thereby ensuring there could be no legal comeback), before publishing its latest claims.
“What I understand is that they went to parliament before publishing, to get parliamentary privilege,” Al Khater said at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awards in Manila.
“I guess that tells you the story… there’s a story that came up but they went to the select committee in parliament, so already that tells me that they’re looking for some protection.”
Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the gala dinner: “Believe me, with all what has been said, what is told around the world, by whom? By those … not involved exactly (with) what has happened or what happens in football,. The World Cup 2022 will be played in Qatar.”
Controversy has stalked Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup with ethics investigator Michael Garcia disowing the summary of findings of his own report.
Amid calls for the report to be made public, Al Khater said: “At this point our opinion is that this report isn’t in relation to Qatar, as a lot of people make it sound.
“I’m pretty sure people are already feeling tired of this story. I think there’s already reader fatigue in terms of this story. For us we’re just focused on our work, we don’t really pay attention to it.”
Regarding the timing of the 2022 World Cup, Al Khater said said several dates were viable.
“We’ve heard something as early as September or October, we’ve heard November-December, we’ve heard January-February, we’ve heard May and then we’ve heard the traditional date of June-July,” he said.
“So you have several dates on the table right now.”