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SFA must lead in Qatar World Cup row - Davidson

Sony became the first World Cup sponsor to call for a thorough investigation. Picture: Reuters

Sony became the first World Cup sponsor to call for a thorough investigation. Picture: Reuters

  • by SCOTT MACNAB POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
 

Scottish football chiefs have a “duty to speak out” over the corruption allegations surrounding the Qatar World Cup in 2022, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said.

Political pressure is growing in the UK for action after fresh claims that football officials were paid in return for votes for Qatar as part of its successful bid.

Labour leader Ed Miliband suggested the bid for the competition should be re-run if the allegations are verified.

His comments follow newspaper revelations of leaked documents, allegedly showing bribes were paid to secure the event for Qatar, which Qatar 
denies.

Ms Davidson, pictured, said the Scottish Football Association (SFA), which governs the game in Scotland, must take a stand.

“These are serious allegations of wrongdoing,” Ms Davidson said. “The governing bodies of football should not stay blind to allegations of corruption. The SFA have a duty to speak out.”

Qatar’s bid committee has said it “upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity” during the bidding process for the 2022 tournament.

Fifa’s chief investigator, Michael Garcia, is currently assessing the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Mr Garcia, an American lawyer, also said he would submit a report in mid July.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: “With respect to the allegations of corruption relating to the Fifa World Cup 2022 bid process we have made our feelings known on this matter – if any wrongdoing in the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar is proven then there must be a re-draw.

“However, it is important to consider all the evidence and the results of Fifa’s own review by their Ethics Committee before this matter can be concluded.

“I would hope more information will be made available this week, at which point we might be in a better place to make more informed comments.”

The corruption allegations come as the labour conditions faced by workers in Qatar who are building the stadia needed for the 2022 tournament came under fire from Labour MP Jim Murphy.

There have been recent revelations that many workers are living in squalor in special camps, with claims that some have even died of heat exhaustion and heart attacks.

“The SFA must now break their silence and stand up for what’s right,” Mr Murphy said.

“Fifa must also seize this opportunity to force real change in Qatar and finally bring the industrial-scale abuse of migrant workers to an end.”

Scotland’s cabinet secretary for sport, Shona Robison, has also voiced concerns over 
working conditions, in a recent meeting with an official from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the Qatar 2022 organising committee.

A spokesman for Ms Robison said last night: “She was able to put on record the Scottish Government’s continuing concern about the treatment of migrant workers involved in construction projects in Qatar.

“We acknowledge that there is a recognition of the need for improvements.

“There have certainly been recent signs of progress, in the form of undertakings by the Qatari Government to reform labour laws. But much more needs to be done, in particular 
to establish a 
clear timetable 
for implementing the necessary changes.”

 

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