ORGANISERS of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have denied all knowledge of alleged payments by the disgraced former head of the country’s football association to an ex-vice president of FIFA.
The Daily Telegraph have reported that a company under the control of Mohamed Bin Hammam paid $1.2 million (£725,000) to Jack Warner, former president of North American governing body CONCACAF, and a member of the FIFA committee which chose the 2022 World Cup hosts.
The paper also claimed that payments totaling $750,000 were paid to Warner’s sons, and a further $400,000 was paid to one of his employees.
One of Warner’s companies requested the payment in December 2010, two weeks after a FIFA vote selected Qatar to stage the 2022 tournament, the Telegraph said. Qatar beat bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the USA to win the right to hold the competition.
Qatar’s organising committee has always denied any wrongdoing and has reiterated that its practices were above board.
In a statement, the committee said: “The 2022 Bid Committee strictly adhered to FIFA’s bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics.
“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.”
Opting to host the tournament in a tiny desert state where daytime summer temperatures rarely fall below 40c has provoked widespread anger. Among those opposing the decision have been Europe’s leading clubs, and human rights groups highlighting dire working conditions in Qatar’s construction sector.
President Sepp Blatter has previously admitted FIFA 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.
Qatari Bin Hammam, the ex-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and a former member of FIFA’s executive committee, challenged Blatter’s re-election as president, but days before the 2011 vote Bin Hammam 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 and Bin Hammam was banned for life from all FIFA and soccer activities.