Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, one of the most influential powerbrokers in the Olympic Movement, has slammed the allegations of corruption surrounding the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup as racist.
The President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), who is also head of teh Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member, hit out following claims in The Sunday Times that Qatar’s former FIFA Executive Committee member and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohamed Bin Hammam had paid football officials a total of $5 million (£3 million/€3.6 million) to back his country’s successful bid.
“We will face all these racist attempts and attacks and will stand with Qatar,” Sheikh Ahmad told the Qatar-based Al-Kass Sports Channel during a meeting of the OCA in Kuwait.
“Nobody will take from Qatar the hosting of the 2022 World Cup in Doha.
“I am in permanent contact with our brothers in Qatar and with Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim, the AFC President, and we will be supporting Qatar, and God willing, we will meet in Doha in 2022.”
Sheikh Ahmad’s comments came shortly after it was revealed today that the IOC will not be launching an investigation into two of its members – Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Issa Hayatou and former Burundi Football Federation President Lydia Nsekera – implicated in the scandal until the ongoing inquiry is completed by the FIFA Ethics Committee.
Nsekera, the first female FIFA Executive Committee member, is alleged to have been one of 25 African football officials to have received gifts amounting to $5,000 (£3,000/€3,600) at a special meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
Hayatou attended a trip to Doha in which delegates were lobbied over the World Cup bid just a month before Qatar 2022 struck an exclusive $1 million (£600,000/€730,000) deal to sponsor CAF’s annual congress in Angola.
The IOC has not dismissed the allegations but is waiting for the findings of the FIFA investigation, which is being led by New York lawyer Michael Garcia and is due to conclude next week before a report is submitted to FIFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber by the end of July.
There have been calls for the 2022 bid to be re-run if the allegations made in The Sunday Times are legitimate.
This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.