Security Report Leaked To Sunday Times Reveals Qatar A 'High Risk' Target For Attacks
A leaked secret terror briefing revealed that FIFA bosses "were warned that the lives of fans and players would be put at risk if the World Cup was held in Qatar," according to Calvert & Blake of the SUNDAY TIMES. According to the "damning report" handed to FIFA 17 days before Qatar was chosen, the Gulf state was the only one of the nine countries bidding for the '18 and '22 tournaments where there was a “high risk” of a terrorist attack shutting down the event. FIFA’s 24-man exec committee "was briefed on the report written by André Pruis, the South African police chief in charge of security at the 2010 World Cup" who is now FIFA’s security consultant for this summer’s tournament in Brazil. The risk assessment "remained a secret until it surfaced in an explosive cache of confidential documents to which The Sunday Times has had access." Pruis’s "damning report" warned that Qatar’s “proximity to countries with an ... al-Qaeda presence” and its plan to cram millions of fans and players into a “highly centralised” area made it a high-risk venue. Russia was given the second-highest risk rating -- moderate -- "and yet was chosen as host of the 2018 tournament." Japan "came out as the safest place to host the tournament" (SUNDAY TIMES, 6/15).
QATAR FIGHTS BACK: The AFP reported Qatar's 2022 World Cup chiefs "have insisted that reports of corruption are a deliberate bid to undermine a FIFA inquiry into their bid." A statement released by Qatar's Supreme Committee for '22 said the "leaks" were orchestrated, but "did not say who by." The statement said, "The timing of the release of these allegations is no accident" (AFP, 6/15). The statement added, "Knowing that we weren't a key player in the football world, we knew we had to work harder than anyone else for our bid to succeed. We knocked on more doors, made more phone calls and took more meetings than our competitors. But in every aspect of the 2018/2022 Fifa World Cup bidding process, we strictly adhered to Fifa's rules and regulations" (BBC, 6/14).