Doubts about Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup Finals in 2022 have been decisively dispelled after allegations of corruption were dismissed by FIFA this morning.
A FIFA report, which examined the behavior of nations bidding for the next two editions of the tournament has cleared Qatar and 2018 host Russia, of any wrongdoing.
“The various incidents which might have occurred are not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole,” said the report.
German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee, published a 42-page summary of his initial findings based on the 18-month investigation led by American lawyer Michael Garcia.
The report confirms that there are no plans to reopen the bidding process for the tournaments.
“In particular, the effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it,” stated Eckert.
FIFA responded to the report by welcoming the “degree of closure” which has been reached.
“FIFA looks forward to continuing the preparations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, which are already well underway,” read the statement.
“For the sake of further closure, FIFA supports the independent Ethics Committee with respect to their preparedness to potentially open future cases against officials based on the information obtained during this investigation.”
Attention will now shift to changing the timing of the 2022 World Cup. FIFA says there are now two options: the spring of 2022 or November/December of the same year.
A final recommendation on the date change is expected in early 2015.