Posted on June 13, 2015

The Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Thursday condemned the vilification campaign against Qatar's right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and reiterated their full support and solidarity since Qatar won the bid in a fair competition, said Qatar Tribune.

The support for Qatar came in the final communique of the 135th meeting of the GCC Ministerial Council, which was held under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al Attiyah, in Riyadh on Thursday. The 2022 World Cup would be the first to be hosted in the Middle East. "The GCC countries stand with Qatar in solidarity with and full support to its rigth to host this international sporting event, a right that Qatar has won with great merit and through an honest competition as testified by everybody," the statement said. 

In a related development, former FIFA Executive Committee member Jacques Anouma has denied claims by Phaedra al Majid, former member of Qatar 2022 bid committee, that he was one of three Africans who received $1.5m to vote for Qatar. In a statement carried by German news agency DPA's Arabic service, Ivoirian Anouma has rubbished the claims of Majid, describing them as totally baseless. He said he never even met the former bid official. 

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"She is referring to a period in Angola during the Africa Cup of Nations in 2010, on the eve of the General Assembly. Unfortunately for her, three days before the general assembly of CAF, I was in Cote d'Ivoire. So I do not know when she saw me in a hotel room in Angola," he said, adding that he has the passport stamp to prove the two were never in the same room together. The three members who voted on behalf of the African continent were CAF President Issa Hayato, Nigerian Amos Adamo and Anouma himself. 

Meanwhile, Qatar Football Association and the government are to take legal action against former German Football Association (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger. In a statement given to DPA on Thursday, Zwanziger (70) is accused of"an unacceptable slander and vilification of the citizens and community." The statement said Zwanziger had referred to Qatar as a"cancerous growth on world football" in connection to the hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

"Qatar is open to objective criticism and controversial discussions - even if criticism is not justified," the statement continued. "Freedom of expression is allowed but that does not include the right to defame and insult by using a term like 'cancerous growth'," it said.