By Joanne Bladd
Bid team says claims Qatar paid millions to net World Cup are ‘completely false’, made by ex-member with ‘axe to grind’
Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid team said allegations that it paid millions of dollars in bribes to win hosting rights to the tournament are “completely false” and based on “worthless” evidence.
The Gulf state’s rebuttal comes days after FIFA President Sepp Blatter refused to rule out a re-run of the vote to host the games and pledged a full investigation.
Soccer’s ruling body is to meet with a whistleblower at the centre of the corruption claims who told the Sunday Times that Qatar paid FIFA members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma $1.5m each to secure their vote. Both men deny the claims.
The source, a former member of Qatar’s bid team, is due to go before a FIFA panel in Zurich to give evidence in person, Blatt said earlier this week.
In a statement given Monday, Qatar’s bid team said the evidence was “wholly unsupported” by any first-hand evidence.
“These individuals… do not state when the alleged bribes were to be paid, how the negotiations with the individuals concerned had been conducted or crucially how they came to know of the alleged bribes,” the statement said.
“On any proper view, their evidence is worthless.”
The allegations had been made by an “embittered ex-employee… plainly with a significant axe to grind”, the statement said.
A story published by the Sunday Times in October led to the suspension of two of the 24 officials who would have voted on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after they told undercover reporters their votes could be bought. The newspaper didn’t publish the allegations against Anouma and Hayatou.
Qatar controversially beat bids from the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea to win December's vote, a decision that has been criticised by many in the soccer industry.
The gas-rich nation has promised to spend billions on new stadiums that it says will be air-cooled using solar technology in a bid to offset summer temperatures that can surpass 50C.
FIFPro, the world footballers’ union, said in January that Qatar was unable to provide “suitable conditions for a festival of football… it’s not sensible.”
Qatari officials said they welcomed a “thorough investigation” into the allegations that had tarnished the country’s achievement in securing the World Cup.
“What is concerning and unfair is that there appear to be those who are unable to accept that a team from a country like Qatar could perform in this way and are ready - on the basis of no evidence - to assume the worst,” the bid committee said.
It is a huge challenge for Qatar! a lot is at stake... it's a big gamble from both FIFA and Qatar.
Bribing someone is a criminal act, subject to the criminal code of justices and punishment. Therefore, the proof in these cases must be beyond any reasonable doubt. The proof lies on the shoulders of the criminal authority investigating this crime. Qatar and all individuals accused of wrong doing here are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law NOT by a court of public opinion.
FIFA's performance is bad indeed. No one can take away the 2022 World Cup from Qatar. It has been awarded to Qatar and they have already invested on the prestigious project. FIFA should in fact now start organising everything that is needed to help Qatar accomplish the tournament in a befitting manner. The subject should not be discussed and if at all there is any need, there should be an internal enquiry within FIFA to question their officials who are alleged to have taken the bribe. In any case, I don't think there will be any proof or evidence left behind even if the original claim is true. This entire episode goes to show the rampant money power that is said to be prevalent in big sports activities all over the world. The need of the hour is to support Qatar so that the 2022 World Cup is a big big success.
There are some countries who brought these allegations out of jealousy as because....in NO WAY these can invest in football like Qatar. After completion of football infrastructure, let these countries representatives visit Qatar & it is sure....it will be a shock to them after seeing the infrastructure. Regarding hotels, at present, very few countries of the world can offer what Qatar & other countries of Gulf have. So it is unnecessary to raise idiotic allegations which is out of jealously by those members of FIFA. No countries in this in present, past & future can arrange FIFA World Cup like Qatar or any other oil rich Gulf countries. Their infrastructure in various sectors are better than almost all the countries of the world. So FIFA members, STOP Idiotic Allegations.
To beat heavyweights like US, Australia, Japan and South Korea is indeed a fantastic achievement for Qatar and sour grapes for the others. How Qatar will weather the latest allegations which surfaced even before the vote, will support their credibility even further.
Qatar will definately come out with this allegation very soon. and Once again we will celebrate our fifa cup 2022 . Everybody knows very well that the big fish in the world are not able digest the popularity of Qatar due to FIFA . Secondly, the defeat is very big for US, AUSTRALIA ETC. By Awarding the hosting right to Qatar the FIFA committee has shown to the world that they are fair enough in there decision but still some are still lobbying to turn there decision.
This is truly amazing.
No one has ever made such accusations for all awards, in the past.
Is this because Qatar is not considered as a member of an "elite" club, which shares the sporting awards?
Qatar deserves the award and no one should be allowed to smear this effort.
I live in Qatar and it's got some of the worst infastructure in the world . Your obviously unaware of the process and facts of the situation and your ignorance of that shows through in your post . If the allegations are found true then Qatar will be stripped of the World Cup and FIFA will implode , if not the show will go on . There is no doubt that FIFA are not fit to hold office and are a very fragile organisation at this present time . Please don't mix personal opinion with fact it's juvenile.
Is there any problem if the World Cup is played in Feb/March 2022 or Nov/Dec 2022. Why everybody is bragging about the 50 C temperature..?!! Each and every nation in the world who supports soccer sincerley should have the chance to host the World Cup, provided they have adequate resources & infrastructure to support the game & it's visitors. Qatar has it. If the entire GCC and other Arab nations support Qatar, this world cup could be transformed in to an unforgettable event and festival. No doubt. Bribe however is a different issue not to be connected with capability, temperature and festive moods of the nation. It's obvious interests among the nations are clashing here.
The Judges should be asked to write a short paragraph each, as to why the chose Qatar over US, Australia, Japan and South Korea.