News ID: 196830
Published: 0205 GMT July 17, 2017

Fake news claim Qatar 2022 boycott

Fake news claim Qatar 2022 boycott
Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed Qatar had beaten Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States in their bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
Source: EPA

A fake news story claiming Arab nations had demanded that FIFA strips Qatar of the 2022 World Cup appeared on a website designed to look like a credible Swiss news publication.

The story appeared to surface on 'The Local' website and said six nations called Qatar 'the base of terrorism', BBC reported.

FIFA dismissed quotes that were accredited to its president Gianni Infantino.

The story was then widely reported by several major news organizations.

The Local said that it was a copycat website and it "neither wrote, posted nor removed that article".

The story first appeared on Saturday night and claimed that Infantino had told The Local that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt wrote to FIFA to ask that the world football's governing body removes Qatar as host.

FIFA denied receiving any correspondence from the Arab countries. A spokesman said: "The FIFA president has never received such a letter and he has not made any comment on that.

"As already said, FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organizing Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup."

The fake website, posing as The Local had quoted Infantino as saying, "The countries warned FIFA of the risks threatening fan and player security in a country that is 'the base and the castle of terrorism'."

An earlier statement from the real Local website read: "We have neither seen the letter referred to in the article, nor sought nor received comment from any representative of FIFA on the issue."

A further statement from publication added: "The article appeared on a fake site designed to look like The Local's own site.

"There is no trace of it in our systems, nor any evidence that anyone tried to access our content management system"

The website where the false report appeared was registered last week to an address in Hawaii, however the personal details appear to be fictitious.

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