Qatar has "strongly denied" allegations in a US Justice Department indictment that they bribed former FIFA officials in an effort to host the 2022 World Cup.
They've joined Russia 2018 Organising Committee CEO Alexei Sorokin in attempting to play down claims officials were paid money for votes when both World Cups were awarded in 2010.
The indictment claims that former Brazilian Football Confederation president Ricardo Teixeira, deceased former president of the South American confederation CONMEBOL Nicolas Leoz, and an un-named third party "were offered and received bribe payments in exchange for their votes in favour of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup".
In response to the allegations, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) told journalist Tariq Panja it "strongly denies the allegations contained within the court papers made public in the US on 6 April 2020.
They add that those papers "are part of a long-standing case, the subject of which is not the 2018/2020 FIFA World Cup bidding process."
In that they are correct, the original purpose of the indictment was to investigate former Fox executives Carlos Martinez and Hernan Lopez who are accused of offering kickbacks for the broadcasting rights to the Copa Libertadores.
Qatar “strongly” denies allegations made by US Department of Justice that it bribed FIFA officials to win the right to stage the 2022 World Cup... but stops short of criticising the US or the DOJ directly. Tough balancing act for a country that needs to keep friends close. pic.twitter.com/CdfSFptSPW
— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) April 7, 2020
The Qatar SC say, despite years of false claims, evidence has never been produced to demonstrate that Qatar won the rights to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 unethically or by means that contravened FIFA's strict bidding rules.
"The SC maintains that it strictly adhered to all rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process and any claim to the contrary is baseless and will be fiercely contested."
In welcoming the findings of the indictment, FIFA have hinted that their part in the investigations has already played out.
Jack Warner, Teixeira and Rafael Salguero are all named in the indictment regarding bribes, but have all been cast out of the footballing garden since 2015 following the findings of a FIFA ethics committee.
In response to the findings, FIFA say, "FIFA supports all investigations into alleged acts of criminal wrong-doing regarding either domestic or international football competitions, and will continue to provide full cooperation to law enforcement officials investigating such matters.
"It is important to point out that FIFA has itself been accorded victim status in the US criminal proceedings and senior FIFA officials are in regular contact with the US Department of Justice. Following the latest indictment, FIFA will ask the DOJ for further information on these matters.
"The FIFA Ethics Committee has already imposed sanctions, including life bans, on football officials mentioned in this process.
"So far as FIFA is concerned, should any acts of criminal wrong-doing by football officials be established, the individuals in question should be subject to penal sanctions."