FBI investigating 2018, 2022 World Cup bids

FBI extends investigation into 2018 Russia and 2022 Qatar World Cup bids as more revelations surface in FIFA corruption scandal

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Corruption investigation at FIFA led by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) extends to the awarding process of 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, according to an unidentified US law enforcement officer.

The initial investigation unveiled by US Attorney General Loretta Lynch did not include a scrutiny of the upcoming World Cup’s but she had told that it was only the beginning of the process.

Swiss authorities had initiated a separate investigation into the selection of host countries for 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The prospective host countries Russia and Qatar have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the allocation process of the World Cups as Russian officials blamed the US for meddling in the FIFA’s internal affairs.

“This is yet another blatant attempt [by the United States] to extend its jurisdiction to other states,” Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

Qatar's Foreign Minister Khaled al Attiyah denied any wrongdoing and said accusations are result of racism against Qatar, which is a Muslim Arab country.

"It is very difficult for some to digest that an Arab Islamic country has this tournament, as if this right can't be for an Arab state," Attiyah said.

"I believe it is because of prejudice and racism that we have this bashing campaign against Qatar."

The news came a day after FIFA President Sepp Blatter unexpectedly resigned his post just for days after being reelected for a fifth term.

On Wednesday, the US Justice Department (DOJ) also published the testimony of former FIFA executive committee member Charles Blazer where he admits to have received bribes in allocation process of 1998 and 2010 World Cups, which were eventually awarded to France and South Africa respectively.

The DOJ said last week that the investigation revealed FIFA officials were involved in racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering, and received a total of $150 million in bribes over the course of two decades.

The international police organisation Interpol placed six people including two former top FIFA officials, who were among 14 indicted last week, on its wanted list at the request of US authorities.

Wanted person alerts were issued for former FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jack Warner, and former head of South America's soccer confederation (CONMEBOL) Nicolas Leoz.

South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula admitted making a $10 million payment to the CONCACAF, while Jack Warner was the president, but claimed it was given for football development in the Caribbean, denying it was a bribe as it was claimed by the US authorities.

TRTWorld and agencies