Nasser Al-Khater, the deputy chief executive of Qatar 2022, says the Local Organsing Committee has received no contact from Swiss authorities relating to the investigation into the awarding of the World Cup ©Getty Images

Qatar 2022 World Cup has received no contact from Swiss authorities investigating alleged corruption into the bidding processes for both that FIFA World Cup and the 2018 edition in Russia, according to its deputy chief executive.

Speaking here, Nasser Al-Khater claimed the Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had not been in touch, despite an investigation being launched in May when seven FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich on corruption charges.

In August, the OAG confirmed the number of suspicious incidents it has uncovered in relation to the awarding of the World Cups had reached more than 100.

The investigation is part of a wider probe into corruption within world football’s governing body FIFA, whose President Sepp Blatter was suspended earlier this month for 90 days over a supposed "disloyal payment" - one not in the interests of FIFA - of CHF 2 million (£1.3 million/$2.1 million/€1.8 million), which he allegedly made to UEFA President Michel Platini.

Platini, himself a candidate to succeed Blatter as President, has also been suspended, with the crisis showing little sign of letting up. 

"This is the policy we’ve had, we don’t get involved in that," said Al-Khater.

"Whatever they require us to cooperate with, we will cooperate with.

"We’ve cooperated fully with the investigation that took place with FIFA.

"We’re happy with the result.

"We’re focusing on delivering an amazing World Cup.

"We’re progressing as you (the media present) can see.

"And whatever happens there, to be honest with you, is not any of our concern.

"What we would like to see is a strong, transparent football governing body going forward, whoever it may be."

Nasser Al-Khater says the biggest challenge for the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee is changing public perception of the host country
Nasser Al-Khater says the biggest challenge for Qatar 2022 is changing public perception of the host country ©Getty Images

Al-Khater said one of the biggest challenges for Qatar 2022 is changing public perception of the country amid strong criticism from international organisations on the welfare of migrant workers helping to construct the stadia needed ahead of the World Cup.

"I think we find that a lot of public perception is formed by individuals and organisations that haven’t been to Qatar and that’s why we like to take the opportunity of [welcoming] any visiting members of the media," said Al-Khater.

"I’m not going to say that you’re going to have a positive opinion when you come here or you’re going to have a negative opinion, or you’ll have an informed opinion.

"You [the media present] will at least be seeing first hand and you’re able to form your opinion by looking, not just by reading and then forming an opinion by words written on a website or in a paper."

On the orders of FIFA, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy released its Workers' Welfare Standards in February 2014, setting "clear guidelines that protect the rights of workers throughout the entire chain of contracting, from recruitment to repatriation". 

"We still have seven years to go," said Al-Khater. 

"I think it’s going to be an uphill battle in terms of improving the public opinion of the World Cup in Qatar, but I think that we’re getting there.

"For example, if we take one area of concern, workers' welfare, I think there’s a lot of criticism.

"I think a lot of the criticism is exaggerated, but I also think a lot of the criticism is in its place.

"It’s up to the individual who is following the subject to make an opinion on if it’s happening fast enough, or if it’s happening too slow, or if it’s happening too fast.

"Rome wasn’t built in a day and countries that have had thousands of years of history in terms of civic society, it takes them 15 to 20 years to pass legislation."

Qatar was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup in 2010
Qatar was awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup in 2010 ©Getty Images

Al-Khater revealed that Sylvia Schenk, senior advisor for sport at Transparency International, recently visited Qatar and described the conditions as "exemplary".

"For us, that is somebody that doesn’t have an agenda," he added. 

"That is somebody who’s looking to make actual improvement and change and that is the kind of opinion that means something to us and we’re looking forward to continuing that and having an influence on change in the country."

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