Friday 15 December 2017

Qatar 2022 World Cup bid faces fresh corruption claims

Mohamed Bin Hammam Photo: Getty Images
Mohamed Bin Hammam Photo: Getty Images

Fifa, the world football governing body, is facing fresh allegations over its decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former vice-president of Fifa, used slush funds to make dozens of payments to senior football officials, according to a report.

An investigation by The Sunday Times uncovered a cache of millions of files raising further questions about the successful bid.

The report comes after The Telegraph disclosed in March that a senior Fifa official and his family were paid almost $2 million (€1.4 million) from a Qatari firm linked to the bid.

The company was owned by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Fifa executive member for Qatar.

This weekend The Sunday Times reported that Bin Hammam, the former vice-president of Fifa, used secret slush funds to make dozens of payments totalling more than $5million (€3.66) to senior officials.

Bin Hammam was banned from world football in 2011 after being found to have bribed voters as he tried to be elected Fifa president. Qatar has always denied he lobbied for them as part of their 2022 bid.

However, it was reported this weekend that he used 10 slush funds controlled by his private company, together with cash handouts, to make dozens of payments of up to $200,000 (€146,000) into accounts controlled by the presidents of 30 African football associations.

In one email John Muinjo, president of the Namibian FA, promised Bin Hammam that his federation “will always be behind you”.

He added that “we would want to be assisted with a once-off financial assistance to the tune of $50,000 (€36,674)”.

In turn Bin Hammam pledged that it would be “delivered as soon as possible”. Muinjo said the money did not arrive in his account.

Alexandra Wrage, a former member of Fifa’s independent governance committee, described the cache as a “smoking gun”.

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, said: “There is now an overwhelming case that the decision as to where the World Cup should be held in 2022 should be run again.”

Members of the Qatar bid committee denied any link to Bin Hammam and said they had no involvement in improper conduct.

Bin Hammam declined to respond to calls and his son reportedly said the family would not comment.

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