Qatar denies wrongdoing in World Cup bid

Qataris say they always upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity in bid. (File Photos: Reuters/AFP)

Qatari organizers of the 2022 World Cup have “vehemently” denied recent allegations their successful bid was corrupt and Jim Boyce, a FIFA vice-president, said he would be in favor of re-running the vote for the 2022 host nation if the accusations turned out to be true.

The UK’s Sunday Times said it had obtained a “bombshell” cache of millions of leaked emails and documents showing that Qatar’s former top football official Mohammad Bin Hammam had allegedly paid $5 million to help raise the Gulf states chances of hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Hamman, who at the time of was an executive member of FIFA, had allegedly used slush funds to pay out the cash to top football officials to win a “groundswell” of support for Qatar’s bid to host the international sporting event.

In December 2010, Qatar became the first Middle East Arab country to win the right to host the international sporting event that is watched by millions worldwide.

Bin Hammam Reuters

Bin Hammam Reuters

 

Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy - the nation's World Cup organising committee - said it had won the right to stage the finals with "the best bid", and that it was "time for the Middle East to host its first FIFA World Cup.”

"The Qatar 2022 Bid Committee always upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity in its successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup," it said.

"In regard to the latest allegations from The Sunday Times, we say again that Mohammad Bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar's 2022 Bid Committee.

"As was the case with every other member of FIFA's Executive Committee, our bid team had to convince Mr. Bin Hammam of the merits of our bid.

"We are cooperating fully with [head of FIFA's investigation into corruption] Mr. [Michael] Garcia's on-going investigation and remain totally confident that any objective enquiry will conclude we won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup fairly.

Garcia, a New York lawyer, was due to meet Qatari officials in Oman Monday in a meeting scheduled before the The Sunday Times article was published, as he continues his questioning of those involved with FIFA and other bodies.

"We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar's bid,” the committee said.

The Qataris issued the denial after FIFA’s vice president said he would be in favor of re-running the vote for the 2022 host nation, if the allegations in the Sunday Times could be proved.

Boyce, who was not on the executive committee at the time of the vote in December 2010, said Garcia, should widen his investigation following the newspaper report.

"As a current member of the FIFA executive committee, we feel that any evidence whatsoever that people involved were bribed to do a certain vote, all that evidence should go to Michael Garcia... and let's await the report that comes back from Garcia.

"If Garcia's... recommendations are that wrongdoing happened for that vote for the 2022 World Cup, I certainly... would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote," the Northern Irishman told BBC radio.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president, has in recent weeks admitted that it had been a “mistake” to hand the tournament to Qatar, citing the searing temperatures in the desert country.

(With Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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