FIFA urged to carry out investigation of Qatar World Cup bid allegations

FIFA should investigate allegations that the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team ran a campaign to undermine rivals, a British Member of Parliament has said.

The Sunday Times reported that leaked documents revealed that the Qatar bid team used former CIA agents and a public relations company to sabotage other bidders by suggesting they did not have the domestic backing for a World Cup -- a key FIFA requirement.

Qatar won the right to stage the tournament, defeating other bids from Australia, the United States, South Korea and Japan, in 2010.

Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it rejected the allegations, but Damian Collins, who chairs the UK's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said an investigation should be carried out.

"It requires a proper independent investigation, and FIFA should make clear that will happen," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "If the Qataris have broken the rules, they should face some sanctions."

FIFA rules decree that bidders should not make "any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, about the bids or candidatures of any other member association."

In 2014, world football's governing body cleared Qatar's bid of corruption after a two-year investigation led by lawyer Michael Garcia, concluding that "for the most part the bidding process was fair and thorough."

However, the documents seen by the Sunday Times, which said they had been leaked by a whistleblower, were reported to have been unavailable during that investigation.

In a statement to ESPN FC, a FIFA spokesperson said: "Concerning the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process, as you are aware, a thorough investigation was conducted by Michael Garcia and his conclusions are available in the report."

Qatar said in a statement to ESPN FC: "The Supreme Committee rejects each and every allegation put forward by the Sunday Times. We have been thoroughly investigated and have been forthcoming with all information related to our bid, including the official investigation led by US attorney Michael Garcia. We have strictly adhered to all FIFA's rules and regulations for the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process."

Last month, FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed that the 2022 World Cup would be played between Nov. 21 and Dec. 18 as the next edition of the tournament will switch to the winter months because of the summer climate in Qatar.

However, the number of participating teams is still unconfirmed. Infantino has floated the idea in the past that the World Cup could expand to 48 teams in 2022, four years ahead of schedule.

The 2026 tournament will be hosted jointly between the United States, Mexico and Canada.