Report: Qataris hired PR firm to sabotage rival World Cup bids

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Even after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been played and completed for a period of months — if not years — controversy and fresh, new allegations of corruption and improper dealings will flow with fury.

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It’s been almost eight years since FIFA awarded the 2022 tournament to the tiny Gulf nation with a population of 2.6 million. Construction of many of the stadiums is well underway, and has been for years, yet the directors of outside sporting organizations continue to call for further investigations into the bid process.

This time, it’s Damian Collins, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, in the wake of a fresh set of allegations — revealed by the Sunday Times — which claim the Qatari bid team employed an American public-relations firm, as well as ex-CIA agents, to smear its rivals (most notably, the U.S. and Australia).

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The Times‘ report is based on leaked documents which they claim to have seen. The objective of the alleged PR crusade was to create propaganda which gave the impression that a World Cup would not be supported domestically by rival bidders.

Such a campaign would broken FIFA’s airtight bidding rules. Said rules prohibit “any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association.”

Organizers of the Qatar bid and subsequent tournament have denied the allegations.