LONDON: Qatar’s organisers of soccer’s 2022 World Cup have vehemently denied accusations their successful bid was corrupt, saying its lawyers were looking into claims made by a British Sunday newspaper.
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 Mohamed 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.
“We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar’s bid.”
FIFA would not comment yesterday about the report, instead instructing news agencies to “kindly contact the office of the Chairman of the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee Michael Garcia directly”.
The Washington-based law firm representing Garcia was not answering its telephone, and had not replied to a request for a comment.
New York lawyer Garcia was due to meet Qataris in Oman today in a meeting scheduled before the article was published, as he continues his questioning of those involved with FIFA and other bodies.
The Sunday Times printed what it said were details and excerpts of emails, letters and bank transfers in its vast report which it says prove Bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation for nine years and a FIFA executive committee member for 15 years, had made payments from secret slush funds.
FIFA vice-president 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.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy issued the denial after Jim Boyce, a vice-president of soccer’s world governing body FIFA, said he would be in favour of re-running the vote for the 2022 host nation, if the allegations in the Sunday Times could be proved.
In a report filling the first 11 pages of the newspaper, the Sunday Times claimed it had obtained millions of documents which they say show former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar made payments totalling around $5m to football officials in return for votes for Qatar.