FIFA investigator meets Qatar World Cup officials

Michael J. Garcia, Chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee attends a news conference at the at the Home of FIFA in Zurich July 27, 2012. (Reuters)

FIFA investigator Michael Garcia met officials from the Qatari World Cup committee in the Gulf state of Oman this week, according to a source close to the meetings, AFP reported on Thursday.

Garcia, a New York-based lawyer, will hand his report to a FIFA ethics committee on June 9, the day before the world body starts its annual congress in Sao Paulo, AFP reported.

The fate of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup appears to depend of Garcia’s finding. But his decision not to examine millions of documents underpinning a new wave of corruption allegations of Qatar’s World Cup bid could undermine faith in his investigation, according to Reuters.

Qatar has faced calls to be stripped of the 2022 World Cup in the wake of fresh allegations that FIFA vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam used a $5 million slush fund to not only buy goodwill for his tilt at the FIFA presidency but to aid the 2022 bid.

UEFA President and FIFA executive member Michel Platini, who voted for Qatar in 2010, told L'Equipe newspaper that if the corruption allegations were proven there should be a re-vote.

“If there is proof of corruption, it will take a new vote and sanctions,” Platini was quoted as saying.

Platini again rejected claims by English newspaper the Daily Telegraph this week that he held “a secret meeting” with Hammam.

He admitted attending a “private lunch” with Nicolas Sarkozy when he was France's president, and a group of high-ranking Qataris.

Platini, a potential rival to Blatter in an election next year, insisted he was not influenced by anyone to vote for Qatar.

“On arriving at the lunch I found that the Qataris were there and I felt there was a subliminal message in them being present.

“However, I would emphasise that I went to the lunch to see the president and I did not know the Qataris would be there.

“Nobody told me who to vote for. Qatar never did and nor did Sarkozy,” Platini said

 

[With AFP and Reuters]

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