Middlemen offered professors money to slate rival campaigns

Qatar 2022 World Cup

Qatar 2022 World Cup

The documents, acquired by The Sunday Times, show the Qatari bid hired a public relations firm staffed by former Central Intelligence Agency agents, to produce propaganda on the rival campaigns of the US and Australia.

Bidders are also prohibited from making "any written or oral statement of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association" under FIFA guidelines.

Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it "rejected" all the claims made by the paper.

Such actions went as far as planning a resolution for US Congress on the "harmful" effects of the American World Cup proposition during the week of the vote, as well as approaching and paying a US professor $9000 (€7723, £6865) to compose a report on the economic burden the competition would present.

The explosive email mentions the hiring of an array of personalities to undermine the benefits of hosting the 2022 World Cup, including physical education teachers, the head of the Federation of Sports Economists who was tasked with writing a "major study on how the US World Cup lost money", as well as journalists and high-profile figures who would ask congressmen to create a legislation against hosting the event.

Qatar's controversial bid to host the World Cup in 2022 ran a secret "black operations" campaign to sabotage rivals' efforts, according to leaked documents.

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The Qatar bid team has been accused of corruption but was cleared after a two-year inquiry by the Federation Internationale de Football Association ethics committee.

The Sunday Times stated that Qatar bid team has failed to respond to them, and BLJ Worldwide said that they had no knowledge of this.

"We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by U.S. attorney Michael Garcia".

His 23-page report cast doubt on claims by the United States bid that the tournament would generate billions of dollars in revenue for the country and concluded: "US taxpayers are better off saying no to an expensive and secretive World Cup bid".

Lord Triesman, a former chairman of the Football Association, told The Sunday Times that "Fifa's obligation is to look at the evidence thoroughly and very rapidly and have the courage to take what may be a hard decision".

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