With just five years left for the 2022 World Cup, Hassan Al Thawadi, the Secretary General of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), has quashed suggestions of the country possibly losing the opportunity to host the mega football event.
Last week Alejandro Burzanco, an Argentinean sports marketing executive had testified before a New York Court that the late Julio Grondona, the former Argentine FA president and FIFA vice-president, had told him that he accepted at least one million dollars to vote for Qatar as the hosts of the 2022 World Cup.
Al Thawadi retorted by stating that Qatar has nothing to fear from the ongoing court proceedings in New York and that the Michael Garcia Commission has exonerated them of any wrongdoing in their report.
“It is all hearsay and there is no evidence. We are confident in the integrity of our bid. We fully cooperated with the Garcia Commission. The result of the Garcia report exonerates us and confirms that ours was a clean bid.
“With relation to the statement made, there is nothing to say from my side. We are confident of the people we engage with. We are confident in the manner in which we engage with them.
“One of the people that were mentioned include Sandro Rossell (former Barcelona president). Our relation extends with him beyond the bid, in relation to Aspire Academy and also other projects as well. His relationship with us extends far back. Our relationships are transparent and we have demonstrated this during the Garcia investigation. As far as the other claims that came up, all I can say is that it is not true.”
However, when being pressed about the hypothetical situation of Qatar being found guilty, would they be stripped of hosting the prestigious World Cup in 2022, Al Thawadi reiterated the fact that they have been exonerated by the Michael Garcia Commission and that they are not under investigation any more.
“If we were unfairly and unjustly found guilty, we will take legal action. Of course, we will take all legal proceedings. We will appeal against whatever decisions that get made. It’s simple as that. If you are asking an innocent person what would you do if found guilty, my question to you would be what would an innocent person do?
“They would fight to be exonerated; they will fight to clear their name. That’s the only way, there is no alternative I can give. We are confident of the actions that we have taken. We are confident that we won’t be found guilty. If we were for whatever reason unjustly found, as an individual person or institution, guilty, we will continue fighting to clear our name.
“However, I must add that the investigation and the trial (in New York) going on is not related to 2022. The Garcia investigation that happened for 2018 and 2022 (bids) happened for all the bidding nations. You must read the Garcia report to know the extent of the investigation.”
Al Thawadi further mentioned that court proceedings in New York have nothing to do with the hosting of the World Cup by Qatar.
“The investigation is not in relation with the World Cup. We are not part to it. The first step is we need to be under investigation and then the second step goes to these elements. Having said that we are not part of that process.”