Qatar denies World Cup corruption

Ever since Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup, accusations of corruption have followed the bid team around like flies round excrement. Many assumed – and given Fifa's subsequent behaviour, understandably – that they simply bought the votes needed with back handers.

However the head of the country's bid, Hassan al-Thawadi, has said that there is no evidence to suggest that there was ever any corruption involved in securing the World Cup, and that the allegations are based in part on anti-Arab prejudice. He even claims that he was going to set up an independent inquiry – headed by Lord Coe – into the claims, but that there wasn't any real reason why he should.

'I do not believe these claims are being made out of racism,' Thawadi said, speaking to the Guardian. 'But I genuinely think that ignorance fed into prejudice and made it a more fertile ground for these rumours to take seed and grow. I do believe there is prejudice against the fact that we are a rich, Arab nation – yes, I think there is genuine prejudice there.

'I said to Mike Lee [the English consultant to the Qatar and London 2012 Olympic bids] I wanted to approach Seb Coe to be chairman of that committee. But in the end, why do I have to prove my innocence when there is not a shred of evidence? Why should we have an investigation if no other country has one, even Russia, which won the 2018 World Cup by the same people on the same day after the same process?'

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