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German soccer leader calls for review of 2022 World Cup vote that U.S. lost to Qatar

Theo Zwanziger, president of Germany's powerful and influential soccer federation, on Wednesday again brought into question how Qatar had won the right to stage the 2022 World Cup over the U.S.

Speaking to German television reporters covering the FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, Zwanziger, newly elected to FIFA's executive committee, called for a full review of the matter.

"There is a considerable degree of suspicion that one cannot simply sweep aside," he said, "and I must expect that awarding this World Cup under these conditions needs to be examined anew."

Claims had been made in the British Parliament, based on an investigation by the Sunday Times newspaper, that Qatar had paid bribes for votes, something Qatar has vehemently denied. It did so again on Wednesday, calling such claims "distressing, insulting and incomprehensible."

But the FIFA ethics committee's provisional suspension Sunday of Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar and Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, the respective presidents of the Asian Football Confederation and CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, for alleged bribery has highlighted the problem.

Two other FIFA executive committee members, Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, were suspended last November for unethical conduct, including, in Adamu's case, bribery.

"If FIFA behaves the way people expect, that is by clearly taking action against this cancerous tumor of bribery, then there is no need for these concerns," Zwanziger said Wednesday.

"None of us could have imagined such a scandal. There is no end to the suspicions falling on members the FIFA executive.

"The task is now to shed light in a determined fashion, punish the guilty and develop mechanisms that prevent something like this from ever happening again."

On a 13-4 vote, FIFA's executive committee on Dec. 2 awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup over the U.S.


Soccer scandal sees U.S. heavyweight Chuck Blazer fired and rehired, all within hours

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-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Theo Zwanziger. Credit: Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

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