World Cup 2022 corruption claims denied

ORGANISERS of the 2022 World Cup last night denied being aware of any alleged payments by the disgraced former head of Qatar’s soccer association to an ex-vice president of Fifa.

It comes after claims a company under the control of Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam paid $1.2 million (£1m) to Jack Warner, who was a member of the Fifa committee which chose the hosts for the 2022 football event.

Yesterday, it was reported that a company called Jamad, owned by Mr Warner, requested the payment in December 2010 – two weeks after a Fifa vote selected Qatar to stage the tournament ahead of rival bidders the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

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The money, processed via a bank in New York, was said to have been described as “for work carried out between 2005 and 2010”.

It was claimed more payments totalling $750,000 were handed to Mr Warner’s sons and that a further $400,000 was paid to one of his employees in 2011.

The FBI is understood to be investigating the alleged payments between the two men, who both left Fifa in disgrace following a 2011 corruption scandal.

Last night, Qatar’s World Cup organising committee said its bid adhered to Fifa’s rules and it was “unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals”. Mr Warner, who is currently a politician in Trinidad, last night dismissed the allegations against him as “foolishness” and insisted there was “a witch-hunt” against Qatar hosting the event.

He said: “I have no interest in joining in the foolishness that is now passing as news.

“Nor do I intend to join those who are on a witch-hunt against the World Cup 2022 venue.”

But a Conservative MP, who is campaigning for reform of the body, said Fifa should rerun the bid for the 2022 World Cup if an FBI investigation proves corrupt payments were made in connection with the vote.

Damian Collins, who used parliamentary privilege in 2011 to state allegations that two Fifa members had been paid to vote for Qatar 2022, said: “If the FBI investigation can prove corrupt payments were made to Fifa executives in connection to the decision to award that country the World Cup, they should lose the right to host the tournament and the competition to stage World Cup 2022 should be re-run.

“These reports will only fuel concerns that the decision to award Qatar the World Cup was made for [monetary] reasons, not sporting ones, and that’s wrong.

“The report on the FBI investigation suggests a web of lies and corruption at the highest levels of Fifa”

Fifa said it had no comment on the allegations.

The Qatar decision has been marred by persistent allegations that the voting process was flawed. There have also been concerns over the sweltering summer heat in the tiny Gulf 
nation, where temperatures can hit 49 C.