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Gulf Daily News: Arab League backs Qatar’s hosting of 2022 World Cup
Gulf Daily News: Arab League backs Qatar’s hosting of 2022 World Cup

SAINT PETERSBURG, June 20 (AFP): Russian Federation fought honestly for the right to host the 2018 World Cup and the decision should not be called into question, Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday.

The journalists, who are here to cover The St Petersburg worldwide Economic Forum and met the president for over two hours around midnight, posed questions on the alleged corruption in FIFA.

The League’s General Assembly in a statement declared its “full support” for Qatar’s hosting of the tournament, which would be the first World Cup held in an Arab country.

Qatar is currently facing risks of being stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup as a former FIFA executive admitted an illicit vote-swapping deal in favor of the Gulf country, yet the FIFA investigation didn’t find “conclusive evidence” for the claims. “You didn’t actually do enough to win”, he told select journalists, including IANS, meeting him at the presidential residence in the city. He criticised the US for prosecuting several football officials who were not American citizens.

The Swiss investigation – which emerged against the backdrop of a separate U.S. investigation into bribery allegations linked to earlier contests – has led to speculation that the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments may have to be reopened.

“It applauds the level of progress reached in the preparations and welcomes Qatar’s continued preparations to host the 2022 World Cup”, the statement said.

He said he was grateful to FIFA for aiming to expand the game to a much wider group of countries than before.

The FIFA scandal had recently hit the headlines, forcing the newly re-elected president Sepp Blatter to resign.

“We were ready and that’s what convinced Fifa”.

But Putin said: “If anyone has evidence, let them present it. We won in a fair fight and we are going to host the World Cup”. He said any argument of violation by FIFA or its officials would be settled in the court.


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