Spain/Portugal deny World Cup bid collusion

Madrid: The joint Spanish and Portuguese bid to host the 2018 World Cup have denied allegations they agreed a pact with Qatar, who are bidding for the 2022 edition, to manipulate the voting process.

Soccer`s world governing body FIFA are investigating claims of collusion and vote-swapping for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, which is banned and can lead to disqualification.

Last week, FIFA provisionally suspended two members of their executive committee, which begins a two-day meeting on Thursday to address the bidding process, over allegations they offered to sell their votes to undercover newspaper reporters from a British newspaper.

"The Iberian bid already told FIFA last Wednesday that it does not have any agreement with any other bidding nation," Miguel Angel Lopez, chief executive of the Spanish/Portuguese candidacy, said in a statement on Thursday.

They had offered FIFA full cooperation in the investigation, he added.

FIFA`s executive committee is due to announce the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Zurich on Dec. 2.

Russia, England, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands are bidding for 2018 and Japan, South Korea, Australia, United States and Qatar want 2022.

Bureau Report