“Football officials paid $5 million” to secure Qatar 2022 World Cup

 

Millions of secret documents allegedly prove Qatar’s win in the race to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was secured through covert payments.

The claims have been made by The Sunday Times in London, which says it has seen leaked emails, letters and bank transfers that show disgraced Mohamed Bin Hammam, Qatar’s top football official, led a secret campaign to help his country win the bid.

He allegedly made payments totalling $5 million (£2.9 million/€3.6 million) to football officials in return for their support for the bid.

Although the majority of these people did not have a vote in the December 2010 election, the newspaper claims Bin Hammam’s strategy was to win a groundswell of support for the bid, with payments made to officials in Africa to influence the continent’s four FIFA executive committee members who did have a vote.

Qatar 2022 have long denied the former Fifa vice-president lobbied on their behalf in the run-up to the vote.

The Sunday Times also alleges documents it has seen show Bin Hammam paid €305,000 (£248,000/$415,000) to cover the legal expenses of former Oceania FIFA Executive Committee member, Reynald Temarii.

Temarii was unable to vote in the election for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts – held at the same time – because he had been suspended by FIFA after a Sunday Times sting in which he was caught asking bogus American bid officials for money in return for his support.

The paper now alleges Bin Hammam gave him financial support to appeal against the suspension, effectively blocking his deputy David Chung from voting in the 2022 election.

It is believed Chung would have backed Australia’s bid, but instead Oceania had no vote.
Bin Hamman was banned for life from football in July 2011 after being found guilty of attempted bribery around the FIFA Presidential race of that year.

The ban was annulled a year later by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which said there was insufficient evidence.

He was banned for life for a second time in December 2012 by FIFA for “repeated violations” of the governing body’s code of ethics while he was head of the Asian Football Confederation

Bin Hammam’s son Hamad Al Abdulla, approached by The Sunday Times to respond to their claims, reportedly declined to comment on his behalf.

The allegations put fresh pressure on football’s governing body to re-run the vote for the 2022 World Cup.

Lawyer Michael Garcia is currently leading the investigation by FIFA’s Ethics Committee into whether claims of corruption surrounding Russia’s 2018 and Qatar’s 2022 winning bids hold any truth.

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

Garcia is due to meet senior officials from the Qatar 2022 organising committee in Oman on Monday.

But whether that meeting will go ahead is now in doubt.

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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