Qatar 2022 team refutes new bribery claim

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(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Organisers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup tournament have hit back at bribery allegations published in UK media, calling the reports "malicious and reckless".

The Sunday Times newspaper claimed Qatar officials considered offering $1m to the son of Amos Adamu, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee that handed the tournament to the Gulf state in December 2010.

Qatar has consistently denied any suggestion of foul play accusing those who tried to undermine its bid of a smear campaign.

The newspaper said it now has a new file that has been sent to FIFA who, in turn, has passed the information to Michael Garcia, appointed earlier this year as one of two independent chairmen of FIFA's revamped Ethics Committee.

According to the newspaper, Samson Adamu was invited to sponsor a high-profile "African Legends" gala dinner during the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

The report quotes Qatar 2022 officials as having confirmed that discussions took place but insisting that they "later backed out of the deal after considering the relevant FIFA rules".

Qatar saw off competition from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan to win the right to stage the 2022 World Cup.

In a statement, Qatar's 2022 supreme committee categorically denied they had done anything wrong.

"We refute absolutely the allegations," a statement said.

"The article is presented in a manner that suggests an 'offer' was made to a certain individual by the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee.

"The truth is that our Bid Committee, after careful consideration, opted not to sign any agreement with the individual concerned and had no part whatsoever in the African Legends Dinner event, financially or otherwise.

"It is correct that such a project was the subject of discussions, that preliminary communications were exchanged and that a draft agreement came into existence.

"However, upon due consideration being given to all the circumstances of this particular case – and especially to the relevant FIFA rules relating to the obligations of bid committees – a decision was taken by the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee NOT to pursue any involvement in the African Legends Dinner.

"No member of the Bid Committee attended the aforementioned dinner. All of the above was made unequivocally clear in writing to the Sunday Times before publication.

"The way that the Sunday Times has acted today is both malicious and reckless in the extreme.

"The Qatar 2022 Bid Committee operated to the highest standards of integrity during the bidding process for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups, strictly adhering to all FIFA rules and regulations for bidding nations."

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