The story about 'letter to FIFA' asking Qatar to be stripped of 2022 World Cup is a fake
Another day, another rumour about Qatar bites the dust.
International news agencies, including Reuters, fell for a false story which appeared in a fake website, which said that six Arab nations involved in Qatar’s illegal blockade had written to FIFA to revoke their rights for the 2022 World Cup.
Once Reuters reported their now-withdrawn story, word spread fast. A founder of The Local, a Swiss-based website which was alleged to have published the news first, soon came out with a denial, reported The Peninsula.
‘A fake story claiming that six Arab countries had demanded that Qatar be stripped of the right to host the World Cup was published on Saturday on a site falsely purporting to be The Local Switzerland,’ wrote The Local in a report titled The Local a victim of Qatar fake news plant.
“The fake story was widely reported in the international press, with Reuters, The Telegraph and ESPN all running reports quoting The Local. The Local was contacted by journalists from Qatar-based Al Jazeera and the BBC querying the story.
‘However, an investigation by The Local quickly revealed that the article had never in fact been published on The Local. Instead, it appeared on a site that aped The Local Switzerland,’ the report continued.
The original story had claimed that six Arab nations had written to FIFA demanding that Qatar be stripped of the World Cup in 2022. The story also included quotes purporting to be from FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Anyone clicking on the link was carried to a website resembling The Local.
The article said that the six countries had collectively asked to remove Qatar as hosts under Article 85 of the FIFA Code, which allows for such action in the case of emergency.
“The Local's staff neither wrote, published nor removed the article in question and The Local can therefore not vouch for any of the claims made,” co-founder James Savage said in a statement on Sunday.
“Our investigation so far indicates the article appeared on a fake site designed to look like The Local, and never appeared on The Local's own site.”
Inside the Gamesreported that FIFA have denied receiving the letter from the six Arab countries.
“The FIFA President has never received such a letter and subsequently hasn’t done any comment on that,” a FIFA spokesperson said.
“As already said, FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”