Organizers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup have hit back at bribery allegations published in the U.K. media, calling the reports "malicious and reckless," according to Andy Sambidge of ARABIAN BUSINESS. The Sunday Times has claimed that Qatar officials "considered offering $1M" to the son of FIFA Exec Committee member Amos Adamu, who "handed the tournament to the Gulf state in Dec. '10" (ARABIAN BUSINESS, 11/19). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw noted Qatar, "which was embroiled in unsubstantiated claims of corruption during its successful bid to stage the tournament, has consistently denied any suggestion of foul play accusing those who tried to undermine its bid of a smear campaign." The Sunday Times' report quotes Qatar 2022 officials as having confirmed that discussions took place, but insisting they "later backed out of the deal after considering the 'relevant FIFA rules.'" The newspaper said that it had passed the file to FIFA and that a spokesperson had confirmed the relevant information had been "immediately forwarded" to Ethics Committee Chair Michael Garcia. FIFA said, "It will be for Michael Garcia to analyse the documents and decide on any potential next steps." In a "strongly worded statement" released to media organizations, Qatar 2020's supreme committee categorically denied it had done anything wrong. The statement read: "We refute absolutely the allegations." It continued: "The truth is that our bid committee, after careful consideration, opted not to sign any agreement with the individual concerned and had no part whatsoever in the 'African Legends Dinner' event, financially or otherwise" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/18).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The World Anti-Doping Agency has proposed doubling the penalties from two to four years for "abuse of substances including anabolic steroids and human growth hormone," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The new proposal would "double the maximum penalty" for a series of offenses including trafficking and use of masking agents. As a result, discussions about including a version of the IOC's "Osaka rule" -- which banned any athlete suspended for more than six months from the Games that followed -- were dropped. If four-year bans are enforced, it would "ban cheats from the Olympics that followed in any case." WADA President John Fahey said, "It is clear from the number of submissions we received, that there is a strong desire in the world of sport, from governments and within the anti-doping community, to strengthen the sanction articles in the code" (GUARDIAN, 11/18).
DRAFTING THE RULES: REUTERS' Gene Cherry reported the new WADA code draft also includes a proposal that substances or methods must be "performance enhancing, contrary to the spirit of sport or contrary to the health of athletes" for them to be prohibited. The proposed code will "undergo further review" between now and March, when it will be presented to the WADA Foundation Board before a final draft is prepared for ratification at the world anti-doping conference in Johannesburg, South Africa next November. Fahey: "Athletes must know that there is a heavy price to pay for intentional doping. I am confident this draft will deliver that message loud and clear" (REUTERS, 11/18). The AFP noted Fahey was speaking at a WADA foundation meeting thath drew a number of participants, including Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, who "sat solemnly and consulted his smart phone for most of the proceedings." McQuaid has "tried to defend himself against charges that he failed to fight against drugtaking in cycling" in the wake of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that revealed "rampant doping by Lance Armstrong and the teams the disgraced rider was associated with" (AFP, 11/19).