Qatar World Cup: Fifa official Jack Warner was 'paid $2m'
New claims surrounding controversial World Cup vote 'should not come as a surprise'
THE 2022 Qatar World Cup has been engulfed by yet more controversy after it was claimed that a disgraced Fifa official was payed almost $2m (£1.2m) by a Qatari firm shortly after the shock decision to award the tournament to the Gulf state in 2010.
According to the Daily Telegraph Jack Warner, a former Fifa vice-president from Trinidad who was at the centre of a corruption investigation until his sudden resignation in 2011, was paid $1.2m from a company controlled by a former Qatari football official. One of his sons was also paid $750,000 says the paper, while another payment of $400,000 was made to one of his employees.
The paper says that the money came from a company owned by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Fifa executive member for Qatar, who was banned from football for life in 2011, although he subsequently won an appeal against the ban.
Warner's links to the Qatar bid are now being investigated by the FBI, says the Telegraph, which adds that Warner's eldest son, who lives in Miami, has been helping the inquiry as a co-operating witness.
"The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was one of the most controversial decisions in sporting history," says the paper. "Although Qatar has repeatedly denied wrongdoing during the bidding process, it has long been suspected that the decision was flawed, and several members of the Fifa committee have faced corruption allegations."
No-one should be surprised by the news, says Jim White of the Telegraph. "Dismayed, dispirited, angered certainly. But surprised? Not a chance."
Awarding the World Cup to Qatar was an "absurd decision... which, when filtered through the normal laws of logic, made absolutely no sense whatsoever", he claims. "And now we have apparent confirmation of what that reason was. As was suspected from the start, it is all about money."
The allegations mean that once again the organisers of the 2022 tournament have "been forced to defend their successful bid", says The Times, which notes that "awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has been the cause of endless controversy".
It adds that Michael Garcia, head of Fifa's ethics committee, has been investigating the bidding process. "He is expected to deliver his report later in the year and can be expected to pursue this new line of inquiry."
However, the organisers told the Telegraph: "The 2022 bid committee strictly adhered to Fifa's bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics.
"The supreme committee for delivery and legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 bid committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals."
However, White of the Telegraph calls on Fifa to take action to restore its reputation. "If Fifa wants properly to re-establish its credibility, even now it is not too late to do what it should have done in the first instance. Blatter and his colleagues should immediately switch the 2022 tournament to a country more suited to hold their wonderful competition. Which in this case means almost anywhere other than Qatar."