Russia and Qatar might lose the 2018 and 2022 World Cups

Russia and Qatar could lose the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups if evidence of corruption emerges.

LGBT rights groups in 2010 said they were “deeply concerned” by FIFA’s decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

FIFA in 2013 announced its intention to put pressure on Qatar to relax its anti-gay legislation ahead of hosting the 2022 event.

Amid scandals within FIFA, both countries have denied any foul play – and Domenico Scala, the head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, said he had not personally seen any evidence of bribery.

Scala said: “Should there be evidence that the awards to Qatar and Russia came only because of bought votes, then the awards could be cancelled.”

Speaking to Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung,  he added: “Until today, the respective evidence has not been provided.”

Qatar, notorious for its anti-gay laws,  was last year cleared to host the 2022 World Cup by football’s governing body.

An ethics committee investigation by FIFA into the bidding process effectively confirmed Qatar and Russia as 2022 and 2018 hosts respectively, stating any rule breaches by the bidding countries were “of very limited scope”.

Qatar faced a number of corruption claims surrounding its bid.

Sepp Blatter last week stepped down as the president of FIFA, and seven senior FIFA officials were arrested during a raid on a Zurich hotel.

A separate criminal investigation by Swiss authorities has been launched on how the World Cups were awarded.

The head of the women’s England football team Casey Stoney said she would not attend Qatar because gay people are not welcome there.