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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Qatar's staying quiet as Putin slams probe into World Cups

Tournaments

Qatar is keeping quiet about the American and Swiss raids that have rocked FIFA and thrown another unwelcome spotlight on the tiny Gulf nation's hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is leading Qatar's development of World Cup venues and other projects, has so far declined repeated requests to comment since the investigations became public on Wednesday. So has Qatar's government.

The silence stands in sharp contrast to comments by Russian president Vladimir Putin (inset), whose country will host the World Cup four years before Qatar. He accused the US of meddling in FIFA's affairs.

Swiss investigators are pursuing an investigation into the decisions to award the World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

Qatar's leadership sees the hosting of international sporting events, including the 2006 Asian Games and 2011 Asian Cup in soccer, as a way to boost the country's standing on the global stage.

The energy-rich country earlier this month played host to a Diamond League track meet, and will host the world athletics championships in 2019. Qatar hasn't ruled out making another Olympic bid after failing to secure the 2020 Games.

Mr Putin said that even if "someone has done something wrong", Russia "has nothing to do with it".

persecution

He then tried to portray the probe as a US attempt to go after dissenters, likening the case to the persecution of whistleblowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

"Our American counterparts, unfortunately, are using the same methods to reach their goals and illegally persecute people. I don't rule out that this is the case in relation to FIFA," Mr Putin added.

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