the lingering shadow of suspicion about the attribution of the World Cup in Qatar


Did Qatar buy the 2022 World Cup? One year from the tournament, the question still comes up with insistence. It was raised on December 2, 2010, in the seconds following the victory of the emirate in the award vote for the World Cup (14 votes for Qatar against 8 for the United States), organized by the International Federation. football (FIFA).

« No evidence has ever been produced to demonstrate that Qatar has obtained the rights to host the 2022 World Cup in an unethical manner or by means that contravene FIFA’s strict bidding rules. », defends the Qatari tournament organizing committee.

Admittedly, to date, no trial has taken place and no conviction has been pronounced. However, judicial inquiries were opened in three countries to try to shed light on the ballot. One of them issued clear conclusions: for the American justice, which investigated from 2015, there is no doubt that there was corruption.

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In an indictment released in March 2020, the Brooklyn federal prosecutor wrote that several voting members of the FIFA executive committee were bribed. Without specifying the origin of the funds, he accused the Brazilian Ricardo Teixeira, the Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz and the Argentinian Julio Grondona of having « Received bribes in exchange for their votes in favor of Qatar ». However, the procedure has not gone further for the moment, MM. Grondona and Leoz having died in 2014 and 2019.

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In Switzerland and France, investigations are still ongoing. Since 2015, the Swiss public prosecutor’s office has opened criminal proceedings against X for “suspicion of unfair management and money laundering”. In this context, he is particularly interested, according to our information, in the “bonuses” (23 million Swiss francs in total, or 21 million euros) granted by the 1er December 2010, ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter, its general secretary, Jérôme Valcke, and its financial director, Markus Kattner.

Business lunch

In Paris, at the end of three years of preliminary investigation, the national financial prosecutor’s office (PNF) opened, in 2019, a judicial investigation for “active and passive corruption”, as well as for “concealment and laundering” of these crimes. To date, no indictment has been pronounced by the two investigating judges in charge of the case.

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As Mediapart revealed, the investigating magistrates are exploring the trail of a corruptive pact. This would have been concluded on November 23, 2010, during a lunch at the Elysee Palace organized by Nicolas Sarkozy. That day, the President of the Republic had invited Michel Platini, president of the Union of European Football Associations, the current Emir of Qatar, Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani, as well as his Prime Minister.

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