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No re-vote on Qatar World Cup, says FIFA medical chief

FIFA medical chief Michel D’Hooghe says there will be no re-vote on the host nation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, set to take place in Qatar.

D’Hooghe was one of the FIFA executive committee members who participated in voting for the host nation of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, and refutes claims of corruption made in The Daily Telegraph last month.

The newspaper claimed to have seen evidence suggesting that former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and his family were paid almost $2million by a firm controlled by a former Qatari football official,

However, D’Hooghe insists that he was not aware of any illegal activity taking place during the voting process.

“Absolutely not. I had no feeling anything was going on then and I still have no feeling that there was corruption during this vote,” he told the Evening Standard. “The voting took place in absolute religious silence, like a conclave to elect the Pope.

“Everybody had to give in his mobile on entering the room. I have done so many elections. There was not much difference with the earlier ones.”

The decision to award the 2022 tournament to Qatar has caused considerable controversy, particularly in view of the nation’s searing summer heat, which could cause the tournament to be rescheduled.

But Belgian D’Hooghe feels there is an element of “sour grapes” in the response of the British press, with England having lost out to Russia in their bid to host in 2018, and stressed that FIFA’s decision is final.

“There will be absolutely no re-vote,” he added. “Some in the English press want that. But it’s not the English press that decide.

“For the British press, whatever we do is never enough. And the feeling in FIFA is that all this British criticism is partly sour grapes.

“In football you win and you lose. If England feel they have not had a World Cup since 1966, then Belgium has never had the World Cup.

“England must not complain. They just had the Olympics (in 2012) and organised it fantastically.”

Tue 1 April, 2014
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