LISBON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Portugal's football chief on
Thursday rejected media allegations his country's joint bid with
Spain to host the 2018 World Cup had been conducted in collusion
with Qatar's bid for the 2022 finals in breach of FIFA rules.
"We categorically deny making any agreement or alliance with
another bid on the voting to decide the hosting of the 2018 and
2022 World Cups," Portuguese Football Federation chief Gilberto
Madail was quoted as saying by the Lusa news agency.
Portugal and Spain are jointly bidding to host the 2018
World Cup along with England, Russia and Belgium/Netherlands
while Qatar, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Australia
are candidates for 2022.
The vote to decide the hosts of the two tournaments is due
to take place in Zurich on December 2.
FIFA on Wednesday said in a statement it had opened an
investigation into alleged agreements between bid committees,
which it expected to complete by mid-November.
Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Thursday cited
unnamed sources saying FIFA was investigating the Iberian and
Qatari bids for alleged collusion and if found guilty they would
be expelled from the selection process.
The Telegraph had reported in September that rumours of
collusion between Portugal-Spain and Qatar were widespread.
World soccer's governing body has not commented on whether
the two bids are being investigated.
"We received with surprise and indignation the analysis that
FIFA's ethics committee may conduct on a rumour... circulated in
September in the English media about an alleged deal between the
Iberian and the Qatari bids for hosting the World Cup," Madail
said in the Lusa story which was also posted on the Portuguese
federation's own website).
Madail questioned the timing of the allegations in
Thursday's Telegraph, which appeared the day after two members
of FIFA's executive committee were provisionally suspended by
the ethics committee for alleged vote-selling.
Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti are
alleged to have offered to sell their votes on who should host
the World Cup when approached by journalists from Britain's
Sunday Times newspaper posing as lobbyists for an American
"It is odd that there is an attempt to launch completely
unfounded suspicions about the Iberian bid at a time when there
are news reports about alleged vote-selling for the 2018 and
2022 World Cups involving other bids," Madail added.
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