Qatar hires ex-FA chief to save its World Cup hope
David Davies, the former chief of the English Football Association, said he was in Doha as a ‘freelance person’
David Davies, England’s former top football official, seeks to save Qatar’s 2022 World Cup after allegations that its successful bid to host football’s biggest tournament was corrupt, UK newspaper The Times reported on Wednesday.
Davies, who is the former executive director of the English Football Association, landed in the Qatar capital of Doha on Saturday, the same time that a series of articles by The Sunday Times suggested that the Gulf state had bribed senior FIFA officials to win the bid.
Calling himself a freelance consultant, the former official told The Times that he had a “number of friends who are part of the bid” with whom he talked about “things that are to do with the World Cup,” adding that the meetings were a “very unofficial thing.”
When asked if he was on a Qatar-sourced payroll, Davies said that as a “freelance person” with “no official role” he was “not getting into any of that.”
No crisis management
On the current investigation surrounding emails obtained by the Sunday Times that could indicate a corrupt World Cup bid, Davies said: “It appears to me as though the Garcia inquiry [FIFA’s investigation into corruption] is a very important inquiry. As I understand it, the Qataris are giving evidence to it.”
Although Davies was advising 2022 World Cup organizers, he was not involved in “crisis management,” a friend of the former official told The Times.
On Monday, FIFA's ethics prosecutors said that the findings of an investigation into the successful 2022 soccer World Cup bids from Qatar will be completed by next week and a report on the findings will be submitted six weeks later.
The probe - which includes interviews with witnesses and information gathering - came after The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain reported fresh allegations of corruption surrounding the choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.