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Russia and Qatar may lose World Cups ‘if bribery found’


Geneva:  Russia and Qatar could lose the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups if evidence is found of corruption in the bidding process, a FIFA official was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The comments by the head of FIFA’s auditing and compliance committee came as bribery claims mounted against disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, the man at the heart of the scandal engulfing football’s world body.

“If evidence exists that Qatar and Russia received the (World Cup) awards only thanks to bribes, then the awards could be annulled,” Domenico Scala told the Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung.

He said however that “this evidence has not been provided” so far.

His comments are the first by a senior FIFA official to even open up the possibility of either Russia or Qatar being stripped of the right to host the football extravaganza.

Swiss judicial authorities are already probing the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar as part of a far-reaching corruption scandal that has also raised questions about the 2010 event in South Africa.

Around 14 current or former FIFA officials and sports marketing executives are also accused by US prosecutors of taking part in a sweeping kickbacks scheme going back 20 years involving a total of $150 million in bribes.

The revelations have thrown the world of football into turmoil and led to the resignation of long-serving FIFA president Sepp Blatter last week, just four days after his reelection for a fifth successive term.

- ‘Zero effect’ -

Blatter’s replacement will not be chosen for months, but Freddy Rumo, a former vice-president of European football’s governing body UEFA, has said that changing FIFA presidents will not root out graft at the organisation.

“The corruption, in my opinion, has nothing to do with Blatter’s person,” he told Swiss public broadcaster RTS.

“The solution of replacing a president with another will have basically zero effect.”

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