LONDON : Qatar's successful, controversy plagued bid to host the 2022 World Cup has been hit by further allegations that they used a  secret..... "black  operations" propaganda campaign to undermine rival bids in violation of the FIFA rules, according to The Sunday Times.

The newspaper - which also made allegations in 2014 about Qatar buying the vote but of which they were subsequently cleared after a two-year long FIFA investigation led by American Lawyer Michael Garcia says -

Emails leaked to them by the whistleblower from the bid team show they paid US-based office of a public relations firm as well as  the former CIA agents to disseminate "fake propaganda" concerning main rivals Australia and the United States during their campaign to host the 2022 competition.

Qatar, to general surprise, beat the Australian and US bids as well as South Korea and Japan to the right to host the quadrennial football showpiece.

Russia were awarded the 2018 edition at the same time, seeing off, among others, England.

The gas-rich gulf state's strategy was to recruit influential  individuals in order to attack bids in their respective countries, creating the impression there was '' zero support '' to host the World Cup among the population, the paper said.

One of the  core criteria considered by the FIFA is said to be the bids should have strong backing from domestic population.

Bidders are also prohibited from making ''any written or oral statement of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association'' under FIFA guidelines.

Qatar, however has issued a point blank denial. [Agencies].


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