FIFA ‘ignored’ alert that Qatar World Cup a high risk for terror attacks

A security briefing ordered by FIFA less than a month before it awarded Qatar the 2022 World Cup found the Gulf state was a “high risk” target for terror attacks during the tournament, Britain’s Sunday Times reported. The British newspaper accused members of football’s world governing body of having “ignored its own terror alert” in choosing Qatar in a secret ballot in December 2010, in a third week of revelations raising questions about the decision. The security review of bid countries, ordered by FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke in mid-November 2010, reportedly found that Qatar would find it “very difficult to deal with a major incident” during the World Cup.

The terrorism threat against Qatar relates to its location — its proximity to countries with inter alia (among other issues) an Al-Qaeda presence.

Andre Pruis, the South African police chief in charge of security at the 2010 World Cup and FIFA’s security consultant for the current tournament in Brazil

The security review identified several large infrastructure projects as potential targets, and warned that the proximity of key venues to each other presented problems of overlapping security zones, of crowd control and traffic. The Sunday Times also raised questions about the behaviour of a FIFA investigator charged with looking into rumours of a voting pact between Qatar and Spain-Portugal, which unsuccessfully bid for the 2018 World Cup.