Sunday Times report: Qatar secretly offered FIFA $880 mln in World Cup bid

According to the report, Doha secretly offered $400 million to FIFA just 21 days before it bagged the event. (File photo: AP)

Qatar offered football-governing body FIFA a hefty sum of $880 million in its efforts to clinch the right to host the 2022 World Cup, a report in The Sunday Times has revealed.

Doha secretly offered $400 million to FIFA just 21 days before it bagged the event, said the report based on secret documents the newspaper claims to have seen.

According to the report, a document the Times accessed says Qatar made another offer of $480 million three years later. The Swiss police is reportedly investigating bribery inquiry into the contract.

The Times claims that executives representing broadcaster Al Jazeera – which Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani owned and controlled – signed a television contract making the huge offer.

The contract is said to have also included a “success fee of $100 million that would be paid to FIFA only if Qatar was successful in the 2010 World Cup ballot,” says the report.

“In the event that the 2022 competition is awarded to the state of Qatar, Al Jazeera shall, in addition to the . . . rights fee, pay to FIFA into the designated account the monetary amount of $100 million,” the documents read, according to The Times.

The report also claims that, under terms of this contract, FIFA is set to receive next month a multimillion-pound payment, which includes a portion of the $100 million success fee.

The Times quoted Senior British MP and Head of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee, Damian Collins, urging FIFA to freeze the Al Jazeera payments. Collins also called for a probe into the contract that “appears to be in clear breach of the rules.”

According to the report, on the eve of the vote, the then-FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, told members of the executive council that they would get an extraordinary bonus of $200,000 each as that year’s World Cup had been a financial success.

The report also quoted experts as saying that, on purely commercial terms, it would be difficult to justify the amount paid by the Qatari broadcaster for the television rights deals.

“It is thought to be five times the sum previously paid for such deals in the region,” the newspaper quotes an expert as saying.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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