Qatar faces £3m World Cup corruption allegation
Calls for bidding to be re-run after new ‘bombshell’ revelations about bidding process
There are calls for the bidding for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup to be re-run after it was alleged a disgraced Qatari football official made payments worth millions of pounds to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.
The Sunday Times says it has obtained a “bombshell” cache containing millions of secret documents – including bank transfers, letters and emails – proving Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m).
It claims that bribes helped sway crucial members of FIFA’s 24-man ruling committee into giving their support for the Arab emirate to host the tournament, despite its lack of football infrastructure.
The decision to award the tournament to Qatar caused shock and controversy, as the Gulf state has minimal football tradition. With temperatures there exceeding 50C, there was also concern over the health of players and spectators.
Alexandra Wrage, a former member of Fifa’s independent governance committee, said the new evidence is a “smoking gun”. The chairman of the Commons culture select committee, John Whittingdale, said: “There is now an overwhelming case that the decision to where the World Cup should be held in 2022 should be run again.”
In the light of the Sunday Times’ revelations, the Qatari World Cup committee now faces an investigation by Fifa's ethics investigator Michael Garcia.
Qatar strongly deny any wrongdoing and insist that Bin Hammam never had any official role supporting the bid and always acted independently from the Qatar 2022 campaign.
The story is deeply uncomfortable for Fifa as it prepares for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, which kicks off on June 12. ·