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Qatar fires back at England FA boss Dyke

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QATAR-W-CUP-VENUEDOHA, June 3- Qatar’s Football Association (QFA) hit back on Wednesday at English football boss Greg Dyke’s claims that the 2022 World Cup organisers should be nervous following FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s resignation.

A statement on behalf of QFA president Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Thani told Dyke that Qatar had nothing to hide over its controversial bid.

It also urged him to make good on his pledge of trying to build an England team capable of winning the tournament.

“Mr Dyke’s instinct to immediately focus on stripping Qatar of the World Cup speaks volumes on his views concerning what will be the first FIFA World Cup to take place in the Middle East,” read the statement.

“Having already co-operated fully with Mr Garcia’s investigation — and been subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing — we welcome the Office of the Swiss Attorney General conducting its own work into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

“We would urge Mr Dyke to let the legal process take its course and concentrate on delivering his promise to build an England team capable of winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”

The QFA was responding to remarks made by Dyke immediately after the dramatic resignation of Blatter on Tuesday, which followed the arrests of several top FIFA officials in a US corruption probe.

Swiss authorities have also opened an investigation into corruption claims surrounding the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

Speaking on British television, Football Association chairman Dyke said: “If I was in Qatar, I wouldn’t be very confident.”

He added that Blatter’s reaction to an article alleging corruption in Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup in the British press had turned him against the outgoing FIFA president.

Dyke has publicly stated it is his ambition that England win the 2022 World Cup despite the national team failing to win the tournament in almost 50 years, since their only success in 1966.

– ‘Pathetic’ –

There has yet to be any formal response from Qatar’s World Cup organisers regarding Blatter’s resignation.

Last year an investigation headed by US lawyer Michael Garcia into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups cleared Qatar. The full report has never been released.

Informed of Al-Thani’s statement, Dyke told BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday it was “pathetic”.

He also expressed a belief that Qatar could yet be stripped of the 2022 World Cup.

“I think now that the Swiss authorities are investigating the process, we must wait until we’ve seen what happens,” he said.

“If in the end they say it was a perfectly fair process, then of course it should go ahead, because there are contracts.

“But if it didn’t, if they come out and say, as I suspect, that an awful lot of money was thrown at this and some of it went to people it shouldn’t have gone to, then I do think it should be re-bid.”

Dyke’s call was echoed by the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC).

A longtime critic of Qatar’s labour practices, the ITUC said Blatter’s resignation exposed Qatar to losing the tournament in seven years’ time.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “With Sepp Blatter stepping down, there’s a chance for FIFA to undo the damage it has done by telling Qatar to bring its labour laws up to global standards as a condition to host the World Cup.

“Qatar needs to wake up to the reality that the world will not accept a World Cup built on modern slavery.”

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