Qatar Fifa bid faces fresh corruption allegations

01 June 2014

Former Fifa official for Qatar allegedly paid millions to secure World Cup bid support

Qatar’s 2020 World Cup bid has been hit by fresh corruption allegations in the wake of a new report claiming that a former senior Fifa official allegedly paid $5m in bribes to secure support for Qatar’s successful campaign.

The UK’s Sunday Times newspaper said it has obtained millions of secret documents – including letters, emails and bank transfers – relating to alleged payments by Mohamed bin Hammam, who at the time was the Fifa executive member for Qatar.  

Bin Hammam, who is also the ex-Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president, used 10 slush funds to pay cash to football officials to create a “groundswell” of support for Qatar’s campaign, the paper claimed.

The newspaper also claimed Bin Hammam made payments of up to $200,000 into the bank accounts of 30 African football associations presidents, and hosted hospitality events in Africa at which he handed out further funds to get backing for Qatar’s bid.

Bin Hammam also allegedly paid $1.6m into bank accounts controlled by Jack Warner, the former vice-president of Fifa, $450,000 of which was before the vote for the World Cup.

Warner was one of the 22 people who in 2010 decided to award Russia the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 tournament. He stepped down in 2011.

Bin Hammam did not respond to questions from the newspaper. Members of Qatar’s bid committee have also denied any links with the former Fifa official.

The report is one of several allegations of corruption that have surfaced since Qatar was awarded the right to host the tournament. In March, London-based news agency The Telegraph claimed Warner and members of his family were paid almost $2m by Bin Hammam just weeks after it was announced Qatar would host the tournament.

Qatar has already faced a storm of controversy since winning the bid due to concerns about holding the games in the heat of the Qatari summer and about the working conditions faced by labourers building the World Cup stadiums.

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