The Times/BBC: The Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team ran a secret campaign in 2010 to sabotage competing host bids, according to a report published by the Sunday Times.
The paper claims to have seen leaked documents that show the Qatari bid team employed a US PR firm and ex-CIA agents to smear its rivals – mainly the United States and Australia.
The alleged aim was to create propaganda to give the impression that a World Cup would not be supported domestically. The Qatar tournament organisers deny the allegations.
Such a campaign alleged by the Sunday Times would have broken Fifa’s bidding rules.
Qatar beat rival bids from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan to the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
Fifa’s rules say World Cup bidders should not make “any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association”.
The Qatar bid team has been previously accused of corruption, but was cleared following a two-year Fifa inquiry.