World Cup Bidding Process 'Completely Corrupt'

The World Cup bidding process is "completely corrupt", a top MP has told Sky News, after more allegations around the 2018 and 2022 tournaments emerged.

England's 2018 World Cup bidding team is facing questions over a secret dossier which contains claims of corruption by Qatar and Russia during the bidding process.

The Sunday Times reports that a former MI6 operative and a team of investigators produced a dossier alleging that Russia and Qatar - the successful bidders for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively - colluded to swap votes ahead of the secret ballot.

It also claims England and South Korea agreed to swap votes on the eve of the ballot.

The allegations are contained in files handed to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select committee by The Sunday Times. The paper says MPs were unaware of the dossier.

John Whittingdale, chair of the committee, told Sky News that "questions need to be answered" and added: "A lot of it is reports and hearsay, it isn't necessarily hard evidence, it isn’t proven.

"But nevertheless, when it's taken together with all the other evidence that has already been accumulated, it does paint a picture of a deeply corrupt organisation and that the whole of the bidding process was completely flawed."

On the allegation of a deal between England and South Korea, Mr Whittingdale said: "I think what is alleged England to have been doing is mild compared to the allegations made against other nations.

"But nevertheless it's obviously serious and it is a breach of the rules and therefore we will want to know whether it's true and how the FA justify it."

The dossier contains a raft of unproven allegations that a number of voting officials received financial or material incentives through the back door in exchange for votes.

The revelation comes in the wake of a report by US lawyer Michael Garcia, a summary of which cleared Qatar and Russia of any wrongdoing.

However, Mr Garcia has said the summary, which was written by a senior official on FIFA's ethics committee, is factually wrong and misrepresented his conclusions.

Senior sources from England's bid team told the paper they did not reveal the existence of the database because it contained unproven claims and they were worried about potential legal action from the individuals named in it.

The Football Association said in a statement: "These were media and corporate affairs consultants engaged on a confidential basis to gather intelligence.

"The fact the bid team had taken advice on intelligence-gathering was referenced to Mr Garcia as part of the investigative process."

Russia's 2018 bid team said in a statement it "categorically rejects" all of the claims in The Sunday Times article as "entirely unfounded speculation".

"These allegations are not new, but the evidence has only ever indicated that Russia 2018 behaved professionally and fairly throughout the bidding process," it said.

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