Egyptian FIFA member Abou-Rida denies illegal voting practices in 2018, 2022 World Cup bids

Omar Zaazou , Wednesday 28 Jun 2017

Abo Rida
FIFA Executive Committee member Hany Abo-Rida (Photo: Ahram)

Hany Abou-Rida, former member of the now-defunct FIFA executive committee, has denied any illegal involvement in helping Russia and Qatar win the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively in the wake of the publication of the "Garcia report".

A 430-page report on the race to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was released on Tuesday, in which Egyptian Football Association chief Abou-Rida is mentioned eight times.

In a lengthy interview with CNN Arabic, Abou-Rida declared that he voted for Qatar during the executive committee’s voting process but was not involved in any illegal vote-fixing practices.

“During the investigation, [FIFA's then-ethics investigator] Michael Garcia told me that the ex-FIFA Secretary General had told him that I was part of an alliance to give Qatar the World Cup hosting rights,” Abou-Rida said.

“I strenuously denied this while revealing that I voted for Qatar during the voting process to host the 2022 World Cup, despite other committee members refraining from saying whom they voted for.”

When asked whether he had been worried by the investigation into the FIFA committee executive members, Abou-Rida said he had no concerns at all, having already declared his voting decision.

“I wasn’t worried at all. I was under no pressure whatsoever. I even told Garcia that I was the only member of the 25 FIFA members who wasn’t under any pressure because I had already announced that I voted for Qatar – being an Arab nation.

“When Garcia asked me who I had voted for to win the 2018 World Cup hosting rights, I told him that it was none of his business.”

Abou-Rida won the election for the free seat to represent Africa on the FIFA Council last month. The newly-formed council replaces the executive committee. 

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