Sports

Qatar denies bribery allegations over its 2022 World Cup bid

Daily Telegraph alleges that a Qatari company paid $1.2M to FIFA official after Gulf nation was tapped to host event

A banner featuring the Qatar 2022 World Cup hangs on a building in Doha, Qatar, Jan. 6, 2011.
Kin Cheung/AP

Qatar's 2022 World Cup organizing committee has denied being aware of any  alleged payments by the former head of the country's national soccer association to an ex-vice president of FIFA, soccer's international governing body.

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper alleged on Tuesday that a company under the control of Mohamed Bin Hammam had paid $1.2 million to Jack Warner, the former president of North American soccer's governing body CONCACAF and a member of the FIFA committee that chose the 2022 World Cup host. Both men had left FIFA in 2011 after having been suspended by the organization during investigations into previous bribery allegations.

According to the Telegraph, one of Warner's companies had requested that payment in December 2010, two weeks after a FIFA vote selected Qatar to stage the 2022 tournament ahead of rival bidders the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Qatar's organizing committee on Tuesday inisted that it had followed the rules of the bidding process.  

The 2022 Bid Committee strictly adhered to FIFA's bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics," the committee said in a statement in response to the latest allegations.

"The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 Bid Committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals."

The committee declined to comment on further questions asked by Reuters.

The Telegraph also alleged that $750,000 had been paid to Warner's sons, citing documents it says indicate the various payments to Warner family members were to "offset legal and other expenses" and "professional services provided over the period 2005-2010."

It was reported in March 2013 that an FBI probe into corruption in international soccer had recruited Warner's son Daryan as a cooperating witness. Warner himself is currently a politician in Trinidad.

Opting to host the world's largest soccer tournament in a desert climate where daytime summer temperatures rarely fall below 104 degrees Fahrenheit has provoked widespread concern among Europe's leading soccer clubs, while human rights groups have drawn attention to dire working conditions in Qatar's construction sector.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter previously said soccer's  governing body had made a "bad mistake" over the bid processes for choosing the 2018 and 2022 World Cup venues, which were held simultaneously and led to the suspension of two executive committee members who attempted to sell their votes for cash.

Bin Hammam, the former president of the Asian Football Confederation and a former member of FIFA's executive committee, had challenged Blatter's reelection as president, but days before the 2011 vote the Qatari official was accused of trying to bribe Caribbean officials to vote for him in a plot orchestrated by Warner.

Bin Hammam and Warner both denied wrongdoing, but Warner subsequently quit his FIFA and CONCACAF positions, while Bin Hammam was banned for life from all FIFA and soccer activities.  

Reuters

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