No legal grounds to strip Russia, Qatar of World Cup events

    FIFA has responded to claims that Russia and Qatar could lose the right to host the World Cup events if evidence is presented showing that bribes bought the votes that won them the competition, saying there are no legal grounds to strip the countries of the honor.

    “Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups by democratic vote of the Executive Committee. Based on expert opinions and available facts, FIFA has no legal grounds to take away the hosting of the FIFA World Cup from Russia and Qatar,” FIFA said in a statement.

    The statement follows the comments from outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s former special advisor who suggested that Russia and Qatar may have had to pay bribes to secure their World Cups.

    “In Fifa, for many years, you could only reach your goal by taking dollars in your hands,” Tognoni told BBC Sport.

    Fifa said investigations into such claims were ongoing and, as yet, there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

    Russia and Qatar deny wrongdoing, while Blatter has not been named in a separate US criminal investigation into widespread corruption at FIFA.