Qatar Might be Buying Votes to Suspend Israel From FIFA, Israeli Diplomats Say
Qatar could be buying votes to suspend Israel from FIFA, Israeli diplomatic sources said on Thursday.
“We suspect that Qatar, about whom claims are circulating that it paid in order to host the 2022 World Cup, is now paying countries to vote in favor of the Palestinians,” diplomatic sources told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
Israeli diplomats have been working globally behind the scenes to ensure that a vote at the FIFA congress on Friday to suspend Israel from the world soccer federation, spearheaded by the Palestinian Football Association, does not pass.
Although FIFA was racked this week by an explosive corruption scandal instigated by the U.S. indictment of nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives over financial conspiracies, Friday’s congress and the vote to suspend the Israeli Soccer Association were set to move forward.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to elaborate on allegations of Qatari attempts to buy votes.
Allegations claiming Qatar had bribed officials to secure the 2022 World Cup have led to the possibility of a revote. In 2014, a FIFA official said Qatar would likely be stripped of the 2022 World Cup.
There have been extensive criticisms not only over Qatari bribery, but also the Gulf nation’s treatment of migrant workers as well as concerns over how Qatar’s intense summer climate could affect players.
In 2012, Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam, who was president of the Asian Football Confederation, was banned by the world football association’s ethics committee over alleged bribery in his bid to become FIFA president.