Sepp Blatter: Qatar World Cup criticism steered by discrimination and racism
Published 10/06/2014 | 08:33
FIFA president Sepp Blatter claims allegations of corruption surrounding the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid have been steered by "discrimination and racism".
The Sunday Times published further allegations this week regarding disgraced former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam, claiming it has received "hundreds of millions" of documents related to payments he authorised to football officials during the bidding process for the tournament.
The allegations have led to growing pressure on FIFA to strip Qatar of hosting rights for the 2022 tournament.
However, Blatter told the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Congress in Sao Paulo on Monday that the media reports are a "storm against FIFA".
The Swiss added: "Sadly there's a great deal of discrimination and racism and this hurts me. It really makes me sad."
African officials were among those alleged to have taken payments from Bin Hammam, according to the Sunday Times.
CAF responded by issuing a resolution on its website Monday condemning the claims as "deliberately hateful, defamatory and degrading".
Bin Hammam was banned from football for life by FIFA in December 2012 over "conflicts of interest" while president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
FIFA's chief investigator, Michael Garcia, is currently completing his assessment of the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, due to be finished this week - although the findings will not be made public until July.