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Thu 19 May 2011 03:48 PM

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FIFA to get bribery evidence from 'whistleblower'

A former employee of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid will appear in person at FIFA's headquarters

FIFA to get bribery evidence from 'whistleblower'
FIFA BOSS: Sepp Blatter, who has been in charge of FIFA for twelve years, is running for a fourth term and has said he’ll fight corruption (Getty Images)

Soccer's governing body will hear evidence from a former employee of Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup that the country paid bribes to two officials to secure the event, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said today.

The unidentified person will appear in person, Blatter told reporters on Thursday at FIFA’s headquarters. The whistleblower told the Sunday Times newspaper that the Gulf state paid FIFA vice president Issa Hayatou and Ivory Coast official Jacques Anouma $1.5m each to choose Qatar over four other nations, including the US. Both men and Qatar deny the allegations.

“The newspaper has agreed that they will bring this whistleblower here to Zurich and then we will have a discussion, an investigation of this,” Blatter said. The person will meet with FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and its head of legal affairs Marco Villiger.

Blatter, who has been in charge of FIFA for twelve years, is running for a fourth term and has said he’ll fight corruption. He’s being opposed by Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari, who heads soccer in Asia. As well as the claims made in the Sunday Times newspaper, former English FA chairman David Triesman told a UK parliamentary committee that four other members of the 22-man panel voting on the World Cup hosts asked for favours.

England came last of four bidders for the 2018 tournament. Last week it hired a senior UK lawyer to conduct an independent inquiry into Triesman’s allegations. He’ll report back shortly before the June 1 FIFA presidential election. Blatter said “we must know if the allegations are true or not true or unproven” before the vote.

Triesman was forced to resign from his post after being secretly recorded saying a joint Spanish-Portuguese 2018 bid had colluded with Qatar’s offer for the 2022 World Cup to share votes and that Spain would consider stepping down if Russia helped it bribe referees at the 2010 World Cup. None of the allegations were proven.

The English official said Jack Warner, a FIFA vice president from Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira, Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz and Thailand’s Worawi Makudi made improper demands for their votes. All four have denied the claims.

Blatter refused to rule out a rerun of the vote for the 2022 World Cup. Russia won the 2018 event. The panel had already been reduced to 22 from 24 after two officials were suspended following an earlier inquiry into vote selling.

“This an idea circulating around the world,” Blatter said about the chances of another poll. “Don’t ask me yes or no.”

Blatter, who’s already received the endorsements of the governing bodies in Europe, South America, Africa and the Oceania region, said Warner, the head of soccer in central and North America sent him an e-mail saying his region was the 75-year-old’s “home ground.”

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Johnny Ive 9 years ago

If Blatter is convinced and he wins re-election I think he will be forced to expel the members and re open the bidding.

He will be forced to do this to prove that FIFA is capable of cleaning up it's act.

Time is on Blatter's side, he has 11 years till 2022. The question of course is will anyone bid unless they can be sure that the process is free and fair. Blatter will have to go a long way to prove this and taking the world cup from Qatar sends a very big message.

M. 9 years ago

I am wondering what happens to all those investors who have setup offices in Qatar, and project planning , designing , feasibility studies that have gone on for stadiums. It clearly sends a signal to Qatar that they might have the money but money alone will not buy you a world cup. If the bidding process is re-opened, Qatar will go down as a corrupt state that lost the worldcup hosting rights. Sends a horrible signal to the investors, especially with all that is happening in the arab world.

Arjun 9 years ago

I would love to see a world cup in Qatar. But with hotels as expensive as the sky and so called infrastructure to be in place by then it's not that easy but we all wish it happens there. I was in SA last June and the hotels were 300% cheaper than Doha & Dubai. Sustaining the crowds which come in eventually will be the greatest challenge. It would've made more sense if Qatar co-hosted the event with Bahrain, U.A.E & Oman would've given the region a great tourism boost. With so much happening in the arab world right now, Qatar being stripped of the event is quite a possibility.

David 9 years ago

It is impossible to consider that Qatar will lose the World Cup, this is all media speculation. Irrespective of whether or not FIFA officials were bribed or asked for favours, or Blatter has been incompetent, the World Cup 2022 has been awarded to Qatar and there it stays. Stop all this nonsense talk about the event being cancelled and get on with making it a success. There is a lot of work to be done and it is there that the focus is needed.

Saeid 9 years ago

I have a feeling this will get swept under the rug shortly. Too much at stake to open this huge can of worms