FIFA’s top auditor has waded into the growing row over the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar with a broadside of criticism aimed at football’s world governing body.
Domenico Scala, chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee since last year, questioned plans to stage the competition in the blistering heat of the Qatari summer and warned of dire consequences if corruption was found to have tainted the award.
“Awarding the World Cup to Qatar in the summer was not the best decision, irrespective of the question whether or not bribery was involved,” the Swiss national told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.
FIFA’s ethics committee is currently investigating allegations of corruption in the build up to the 2010 vote to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
“Should Qatar demonstrably be seen to have paid bribes in the run-up to the World Cup award then it could possibly be voided”, Scala said in the Swiss newspaper interview. “Then the process should be repeated.”
Zurich-based FIFA has been plagued by a deluge of criticism in recent years over alleged corruption, particularly over the award of World Cup tournaments to countries and during Presidential elections.
Swiss national Joseph “Sepp” Blatter is currently presiding in his fourth term of office as President. While no evidence has been found linking him to malpractice, a series of investigations and a prominent Swiss court case into kickbacks has led to the resignation of several key FIFA figures in recent years.
The award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar came as a surprise to many observers and immediately led to complaints of alleged sharp practices leading up to the vote.
More recently, an investigation by the British Guardian newspaper found that several migrant workers had died during construction projects for the tournament in Qatar.
Earlier this month, FIFA held an executive committee meeting in Zurich to discuss issues surrounding Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup.
Speaking after the meeting, Blatter reiterated that the tournament would definitely go ahead in the Middle East state but added that it could yet be switched to another time of year when temperatures were cooler.
Blatter also said he would personally visit Qatar to look into conditions of workers on building sites, but stated that FIFA could not directly intervene in the labour laws of any country.
swissinfo.ch and agencies