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Sunday, February 15, 2015, Falgun 3, 1421 BS, Robi-Us-Sani 22, 1436 Hijr

Qatar World Cup head protests of 'clear bias'
Published : Sunday, 15 February, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 35

Doha, Feb 14: The Qatar 2022 World Cup head has complained of "clear bias" against Doha following the Garcia Report into alleged corruption in the bidding process to host football's biggest tournament.
In his first interview since publication of the report's summary last year, Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of the World Cup 2022 Committee, said Qatar was not the only bid being investigated.
But the spotlight has fallen only on the Gulf country and not on Russia, which is hosting the 2018 World Cup, or the other countries with failed bids, he said.
"I can't say if there is a prejudice against Qatar but what I can say is there is a clear bias," Al-Thawadi said in the interview to be aired Saturday on Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television.
"All the reporting on Michael Garcia, the description was, the focus was on us, on Qatar, and that was inaccurate. The simple fact was the investigation was on all bidding nations, 2018 along with 2022."
He added: "And yet nevertheless, somehow, the focus still seems to be on us and I think that, if nothing else, clearly shows there is a bias."
The Garcia Report looked into allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the World Cup to be hosted by Russia as well as the tournament being held in Qatar four years later.
Qatar's bid has been mired in controversy, facing allegations over corruption and lack of workers' rights, and this has been compounded by events surrounding the Garcia Report.
American lawyer Michael Garcia, FIFA's ethics investigator, quit his job in disgust after an "erroneous" summary of his 430-page report was published in November, which effectively cleared Qatar and Russia.    AFP

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