Ethics Committee probe into Qatar 2022 World Cup bid to end next week

 

FIFA’s investigation into alleged corruption surrounding Qatar’s bid for the 2022 World Cup will end next week, despite new evidence that bribes were paid coming to light.

The Ethics Committee, led by New York lawyer Michael Garcia, has spent two years looking into whether the 2018 and 2022 World Cup winning bids were chosen fairly.

But the The Sunday Times in London yesterday revealed it had seen millions of secret documents which allegedly prove football officials were paid a total of $5 million (£3 million/€3.6 million) to back Qatar’s bid.

It is new information for the Committee, but it today said its investigation is coming to a close.

“After months of interviewing witnesses and gathering materials, we intend to complete that phase of our investigation by June 9, and to submit a report to the Adjudicatory Chamber approximately six weeks thereafter,” a statement read.

“The report will consider all evidence potentially related to the bidding process, including evidence collected from prior investigations.”

In April, FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke called for the investigation to be speeded up.

The Sunday Times alleges Mohamed Bin Hammam, formerly Qatar’s top football official who was a vice-president of FIFA and head of the Asian Football Confederation, made secret payments to help his country win the bid.

Qatar 2022 has distanced itself from Bin Hammam, saying he had no link with the bid.

The newspaper also claims money was paid into accounts controlled by the Presidents of 30 African football associations and by Trinidadian Jack Warner, a former vice-president of FIFA.

In a statement, the Confederation of African Football hit out at allegations made against its President, Issa Hayatou, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.

It said they were “fanciful” and denied Hayatou had received valuable gifts from Bin Hammam, calling the claims a “smear campaign”.

FIFA’s Ethics Committee is set to meet Qatari officials in Oman today as part of its long-running investigation.

As well as Qatar 2022, is it also probing the legitimacy of Russia’s successful bid for the 2018 edition.

Both host countries were announced jointly in December 2010.

There have been calls for the 2022 bid to be re-run if allegations made in The Sunday Times prove to be true.

The United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia were all in the race for the tournament, with the US making it to the final round, which it lost by 14 votes to eight.

Australia was knocked out in the first round, after receiving a single vote.

Football Federation Australia has said it may re-submit its bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

“It’s a serious development, they’re serious allegations and we’re looking to see what the response will be,” said chief executive David Gallop.

A former executive director of Japan’s defeated bid, Yuichiro Nakajima, told the BBC he would also back a move to re-submit the bid.

This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.

 

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