Calls for FIFA probe amid Qatar payments scandal

British MPs urge enquiry into Qatari firm’s alleged payment to former FIFA exec, which could see Qatar stripped of 2022 World Cup

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British MPs have called for an investigation into payments said to be made to a former FIFA executive, saying that Qatar should be stripped of the right to host the 2022 World Cup if the allegations are confirmed.

It emerged this week that former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and his sons were allegedly paid $1.95m by a company controlled by former Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam, just after Qatar’s successful but controversial bid to host the football tournament.

FIFA has faced many questions over the Dec. 2010 decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. (File photo: Reuters)
FIFA has faced many questions over the Dec. 2010 decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. (File photo: Reuters)

Several senior MPs told The Telegraph that a thorough investigation should be launched by the football governing body – and that if wrongdoing is proven, Qatar should be stripped of the World Cup.

“FIFA should carry out a full investigation. It looks like there may have been serious corruption in the bid and it has to raise serious concerns about sending the World Cup to Qatar,” Clive Efford, a Labour MP, told the Telegraph. “If FIFA looks into all the information and finds that there is corruption, they should reopen the bidding process.”

The Telegraph also quoted John Whittingdale, the chairman of the parliamentary culture, media and sport committee, as saying that the payments revelations “provide further evidence that casts doubt over the credibility of the entire process to select Qatar as the country to host the 2022 World Cup”.

When contacted yesterday by Al Arabiya News, FIFA refused to comment on whether it would formally investigate the new claims concerning Warner and Hammam.

“FIFA has no comment to make on this matter. In principle, any evidence of potential wrongdoing can be submitted to the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of FIFA for further investigation,” a spokesperson said.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup committee on Tuesday denied any wrongdoing in the wake of the allegations.

“The 2022 Bid Committee strictly adhered to FIFA bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics,” a spokesman said, reiterating a previous statement. “The Supreme Committee For Delivery & Legacy and the individual involved in the 2022 Bid Committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals.”

Qatar’s Hammam had once been a candidate for the FIFA presidency, but in 2011 withdrew from the race after being implicated in trying to bribe voters from the Caribbean.

In 2011, Warner resigned from all posts connected to soccer after being accused of facilitating bribes to members of the Caribbean football union on behalf of Hammam.

Warner served as vice-president of FIFA for 14 years, and was one of 22 people who decided to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup.

The FBI is now investigating Warner’s alleged links to the Qatari bid, The Telegraph reported.

Qatar has faced criticism from many sides over its plan to host the 2022 World Cup. Working conditions for laborers and the country’s harsh climate have been cited by critics.

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