Update as of 04:28 a.m. EST: The report has now been published. It, as expected, clears Qatar of any wrongdoing over its bid to host the 2022 World Cup, but criticises the U.K.'s soccer authorities sharply, according to a report from the BBC.
The U.K.'s Football Association damaged" the image of FIFA and the bidding process," with its conduct in trying to secure the 2018 World Cup. England's bid was unsuccessful.
Original story below:
Qatar is to be cleared of charges of corruption in relation to its bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in a report to be published Thursday, according to the BBC.
The country had been accused of paying soccer officials more than $5 million in bribes to secure the right to hold the tournament, according to a report from the UK's Sunday Times. Qatar has consistently denied the allegations. U.S. lawyer Michael Garcia was appointed to investigate the bidding processes for both the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. The 2018 World Cup is to be held in Russia.
Garcia's findings have been submitted to FIFA's independent ethics adjudicator, Hans Joachim Eckert, a German judge, who will release a report on his view of the matter Thursday.
The report is expected to criticize several of the nations that bid for the 2018 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, including Qatar, England, Russia and Australia. However, it is expected to conclude that Qatar did not violate FIFA's rules, which will avoid the possibility of a revote that could take away the tournament from the country, according to Sky News.
In addition to criticism of Qatar's bid, Russia is also singled out for its behavior surrounding its successful bid to host the 2018 World Cup. The country is expected to be criticized for its failure to co-operate with the investigation, having claimed that computer systems recording the conduct of its officials involved in the bid were wiped in the wake of its victory, according to The Guardian.
England's bid for the 2018 World Cup also comes in for criticism in the report, specifically over the English Football Association's $55,000 sponsorship of a Caribbean Football Union summit organized by Jack Warner, the Trinidadian former FIFA vice president, who was suspended from all football activities in 2011 after corruption allegations, according to a report from The Times of London.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter had reportedly cast doubt on whether Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup earlier this month, telling Norwegian football officials that the tournament “won't take place” there, according to a report from Germany's Der Spiegel. FIFA has denied the claims.
In addition to allegations of corruption, Qatar's hosting of the 2022 World Cup has attracted controversy for other reasons.
The tournament is traditionally held during the summer months, when temperatures in the Gulf state regularly reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Many pundits have expressed concern for the safety of players forced to exert themselves in such conditions. Some football officials have also proposed moving the Qatar tournament to the winter months, according to The Guardian.
The plight of Qatar's migrant laborers, who make up 94 percent of the country's population, has also been a significant public relations stumbling block for the country. Hundreds of workers have died during the country's infrastructure construction boom, and reports earlier this month suggested that North Korean workers in the state were effectively working as state-sponsored slaves.