FIFA appointed Qatar as a host for 2022 World Cup and Qatar became first Arab state to get a chance to organize FIFA world cup. Qatar drew all the support from the member states which are parts of Arab League and endorsed this opportunity to bridge the gap between Arab states and other western countries.
It came up as shock when during the end of the host selection process of FIFA 2022 Qatar came up as a winner among Australia, Japan, South – Korea and United States. It was during the year 2015 when through whistleblower allegation of corruption on the part of Qatar came up in the media. During that time, Phaedra Almajid, then media officer for the Qatar Bid team went public with her allegations of corruption on the Qatar bid process and vouched to reopen the FIFA 2022 bid process.
Earlier FIFA showed credibility concerns regarding the statements and testimony of Phaedra Almajid by the Probe led by Michael Garcia. FIFA’s Ethics Committee cleared these allegations after two years of investigation.
Recently, on 29th July, the report published by The Sunday Times (UK) revealed about the fake propaganda and sabotaged by the Qatar in the bid with rivals. The newspaper claims that Qatar hired a US Public relations firm and ex CIA agents to create ruckus in its rival countries the US and Australia. It says that secret operations were done by Qatar to imbibe negativity within the citizens of the country regarding the move of hosting FIFA 2022 by these countries. As it is one of the criteria to have substantial back from the domestic population to get the FIFA hosting. It also claims that one US professor was paid $9000 to prepare a report of repercussions and burden faced by the economy if US hosts this event. Also, they hired prominent figures to criticize the decision of bid for the FIFA 2022 and circulated misinformation among the domestic population to create the “Lack of domestic support” condition for their rivals US and Australia.
The Sunday Times claims that the information was received through a whistleblower who was a part of Qatar’s Bid team previously at that time.
On these allegations Qatar’s Supreme committee has issued a statement that “The Supreme Committee rejects each and every allegation put forward by the Sunday Times. We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by US attorney Michael Garcia.”We have strictly adhered to all FIFA’s rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process.”
FIFA spokesperson said that all complaints regarding the breach of FIFA code of ethics goes through confidential process by FIFA and for previous allegations all the reports are available on public domain.
Let’s see what are the probable guidelines are there in FIFA code of Ethics (2018) and FIFA Disciplinary code (2017) which deals with the current situation.
According to FIFA Disciplinary Code 2017, Chapter II, Section 6 – Corruption (Page 33)
1) Anyone who offers, promises or grants an unjustified advantage to a body of FIFA, a match official, a player or an official on behalf of himself or a third party in an attempt to incite it or him to violate the regulations of FIFA will be sanctioned:
a) with a fine of at least CHF 10,000,
b) with a ban on taking part in any football-related activity, and
c) with a ban on entering any stadium.
2) Passive corruption (soliciting, being promised or accepting an unjustified advantage) will be sanctioned in the same manner.
3) In serious cases and in the case of repetition, sanction 1b) may be pronounced for life.
4) In any case, the body will order the confiscation of the assets involved in committing the infringement. These assets will be used for football development programmes.
According to FIFA code of Ethics (2018), Substantive law Part II, Section 5, Subsection 4, Article 27, Bribery (Page 22)
- Persons bound by this Code shall not accept, give, offer, promise, receive, request or solicit any personal or undue pecuniary or other advantage in order to obtain or retain business or any other improper advantage to or from anyone within or outside FIFA. Such acts are prohibited regardless of whether carried out directly or indirectly through, or in conjunction with, third parties. In particular, persons bound by this Code shall not accept, give, offer, promise, receive, request or solicit any personal or undue pecuniary or other advantage for the execution or omission of an act that is related to their official activities and is contrary to their duties or falls within their discretion. Part II. Substantive law 23
2) Persons bound by this Code shall refrain from any activity or behavior that might give rise to the appearance or suspicion of a breach of this article.
3) Violation of this article shall be sanctioned with an appropriate fine of at least CHF 100,000 as well as a ban on taking part in any football-related activity for a minimum of five years. Any amount unduly received shall be included in the calculation of the fine. The sanction shall be increased accordingly where the person holds a high position in football, as well as in relation to the relevance and amount of the advantage received.
Recently, FIFA issued a document for the bidding of 2026 FIFA World Cup which majorly takes care of integrity on the side of selection procedure and also, they have made substantial changes to the evaluation process on the basic level itself.
FIFA also revised the Bid Rules ofConduct to ensure integrity among decision-making bodies, FIFA administration and bidding member associations to strictly govern and keep radar of any corruption or breach in the process.
BID RULES OF CONDUCT
Among other measures, the Bid Rules of Conduct stipulate:
– the obligation to always apply core ethical principles;
– the prohibition of inappropriate gifts;
– the prohibition of any form of unethical collaboration or collusion between member associations as well as strict rules in relation to proposals for football development projects and the organisation of friendly matches.
The Bid Rules of Conduct continue to apply during the hosting phase, and FIFA reserves the right to terminate the hosting agreement if any unethical behaviour is detected.