The embattled, global football organisation FIFA has come under further fire today after it emerged that warnings over terrorist atrocities at the World Cup went unheeded, according to the Sunday Times.
FIFA is currently the subject of much speculation over corruption surrounding the awarding of the World Cup 2022 hosting rights to the gulf state of Qatar.
Critics have blasted FIFA following an investigation by the Times newspaper which alleged that payments were made in order to secure the bid for the Middle East country.
Now it has emerged that warnings over terrorism also went unheeded, in what looks to be further evidence that FIFA was intent on hosting the competition in the sweltering 50C degree country regardless of the circumstances.
The Gulf state was the only one of the nine countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments where there was a “high risk” of a terrorist attack shutting down the event, according to the damning report handed to Fifa 17 days before Qatar was chosen.
Fifa’s 24-man executive committee (Exco) was briefed on the report written by André Pruis, the South African police chief in charge of security at the 2010 World Cup who is now Fifa’s security consultant for this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
World football’s governing body is facing further questions about why Exco chose Qatar — with virtually no football infrastructure and prohibitive summer temperatures of 50C — to host the 2022 tournament despite being warned that players and fans would be at risk of a “major incident” in the tiny Gulf state.
While other bid nations were assessed as low to moderate, Pruis concluded: “In view of the risks … Qatar is allocated a risk rating of high. I am of the view that it would be very difficult to deal with a major incident in such an environment without having to cancel the event.”
The risk assessment remained a secret until it surfaced in an explosive cache of confidential documents to which The Sunday Times has had access.
Japan was named as the safest place to host the tournament in eight years time, with the United States, England, Australia and South Korea all being named for their ability to counteract terrorist threats.