FIFA's independent ethics committee has no power to remove the 2022 World Cup from Qatar whatever the outcome of its investigations, a senior source at the world governing body has confirmed.
Ethics investigator Michael Garcia is conducting an investigation into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, leading to some speculation that Qatar's hosting of the event could be under threat.
Qatar insists it followed all the bidding rules but even if wrongdoing is uncovered by Garcia, the ethics committee can only sanction individuals - it has no power over FIFA's decisions.
The FIFA source said: "If Garcia finds something which was wrong, the ethics committee has the right to take sanctions.
"But does he have the right to say 'based on what I have found the World Cup should not be played in Qatar?' No, he does not have that right."
Only FIFA's executive committee, the 25-strong board headed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter which originally chose Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments respectively, can make such a decision.
FIFA's auditor Domenico Scala raised the question of the World Cup decision earlier this year, telling a Swiss newspaper: "Should Qatar demonstrably be seen to have paid bribes in the run-up to the World Cup award then it could possibly be voided. Then the (bidding) process should be repeated."
FIFA made it clear last month that the 2022 World Cup would be played in Qatar but that it would look at moving the tournament to the winter to avoid the extreme heat of the summer.
Blatter visited Qatar last week where he raised the issue of conditions for migrant workers following an investigation that highlighted appalling treatment by some employers.
After meeting with the Emir of Qatar, he said he had "reconfirmed to the Emir" that the tournament will be played in Qatar and would not be in January to avoid any clash with the winter Olympics.