Qatar group to push sports integrity in U.S. even as World Cup award faces probes

Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:07am EDT
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By Mica Rosenberg and Mark Hosenball

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - FIFA's granting of rights to Qatar to host the World Cup in 2022 is a focus of U.S. and Swiss probes into alleged corruption at soccer's governing body, but that isn't stopping a group financed by the tiny nation from coming to Washington this week to talk about cleaning up sports.

The Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), which is largely funded by the Qatari government, will talk about its efforts to boost transparency in bidding processes for major sporting events and combat financial malpractice in professional sport at an event it is holding at the National Press Club on Wednesday. 

    The group, which is headed by two former officials from Qatar's military, includes FIFA's former head of security as an

executive director and Interpol's former president as a member of its advisory board.

    The event comes on the heels of the indictment by U.S. authorities of nine current or former FIFA officials and five executives in sports marketing or broadcasting on May 27. They face charges of bribery, money laundering and wire fraud involving more than $150 million.

That investigation is also examining allegations that there was corruption in the awarding of World Cup hosting rights to Russia for 2018 and Qatar four years later, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. The Swiss authorities have their own criminal probe into those decisions.

"The ICSS encourages and supports any proactive ‎action that

targets corruption in sport governing bodies by law enforcement   Continued...

The logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA is seen on its headquarters in Zurich October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann