THE Qatari organisers for the 2022 World Cup are confident they will be exonerated in the independent investigation into the bidding process for the finals, one of their senior officials said on Tuesday.
Communications chief Nasser Al Khater told delegates at the Soccerex Global Convention: â€œWeâ€™ve always been confident of our position in the way we carried ourselves during the bidding stage.
â€œAlso, weâ€™re 500 people-strong working tirelessly day in and day out and I think thatâ€™s an answer to the question.â€œ
New York lawyer Michael Garcia delivered his 350-page report last week to German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, the head of Fifaâ€™s Ethics adjudicatory chamber who will decide on the consequences in about a month. Eckert and his team will also decide whether the report will be made public.
Allegations of corruption have surrounded the voting that took place for the 2018 World Cup awarded to Russia and the 2022 finals handed to Qatar in December 2010 but Al Khater has consistently maintained the Qatari bid was clean.
The other major issue surrounding the finals in Qatar is when they will actually take place.
Fifaâ€™s task force on that subject met on Monday, while Europeâ€™s top clubs debated it again on Tuesday saying they needed â€œstrong decisive reasonsâ€ for accepting the tournament will be played in the winter months of 2022 rather than the summer, which will disrupt the domestic European season.
AL Khater said: â€œEveryone wants to make sure there is the ideal solution for the World Cup with minimal disruption for their leagues.
â€œI think the main concern from FIFpro (the international playersâ€™ union) was health. Weâ€™ll have cooled training sites, stadia, public areas but this is their right to protect the right of players.â€œ
He added: â€œWe are not running away from the problems. There are significant challenges when it comes to issues of workersâ€™ rights and weâ€™ve always said the World Cup will be a catalyst for change in our society. All this will take time. It will not happen overnight. But we will see significant progress.
â€œPeople also recognise now that it is even more important that we put on an excellent show and deliver an exceptional World Cup and say to the world: â€˜This is what we promised and we are excited about delivering the first World Cup in the Middle East.â€™â€
Earlier, the European Clubsâ€™ Association contradicted the Fifa president Sepp Blatterâ€™s view that a summer tournament had been ruled out, pointing out that cooling technology for stadiums and pitches had been an integral part of Qatarâ€™s successful bid to host the competition.
â€œIt would be very important to have strong arguments to convince the European game to disrupt its season in favour of a World Cup in another part of the year,â€ the ECA vice-chairman, Umberto Gandini, said.
â€œThere must be very good reasons for moving the World Cup from its conventional slot because it will jeopardise the entire game worldwide.â€ – The Indepenent