By Jo Anne Bladd
Leaked email from Jerome Valcke said Qatar ‘bought’ rights to host 2022 World Cup
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke confirmed Monday he had said in a private email that Qatar had bought the rights to stage the 2022 World Cup.
The email was made public by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner after he was suspended by FIFA on Sunday over claims Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam had offered cash bribes for votes in his campaign to replace Sepp Blatter as president of soccer’s ruling body.
"For MBH, I never understood why he was running," Warner quoted the email from Valcke as saying. "If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Blatter].
"Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC [World Cup]."
Valcke has confirmed the email is genuine, but said Warner had only published part of it.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers on Monday “categorically” denied the claims and said they were seeking legal advice and urgent clarification from FIFA.
Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential race before the ethics committee suspended him and Warner on Sunday. FIFA had decided the men must face an inquiry over allegations bin Hammam had paid $2m in cash to Caribbean officials to vote for him in Wednesday’s election.
Both deny any wrongdoing.
On Monday, an Australian senator demanded a refund from FIFA on the $48.8m the country spent on its bid for the 2022 World Cup. Qatar controversially beat bids from the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea to win December's vote.
The news is set to plunge FIFA deeper into crisis, following allegations earlier this month from an ex-member of Qatar’s bid team that the Gulf state had paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure the tournament.
The whistleblower said Qatar had paid FIFA members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma $1.5m each to secure their vote. Both men deny the claims.
The Gulf state’s bid team said the evidence was “wholly unsupported” and the allegations were made by an “embittered ex-employee… plainly with a significant axe to grind”.
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.
In total, 10 of the 24 members of the powerful executive committee have been subject to allegations of corruption in the last year.
Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss, is due to address a news conference on Monday. He is set to stand unopposed for a fourth term in charge of FIFA on Wednesday.
During Blatter's 13 years in charge, FIFA has grown rich through sales of TV rights, sponsorship and merchandising opportunities and currently boasts reserves of over $1bn.
WOW - Australian senator demanded a refund from FIFA on the $48.8m the country spent on its bid for the 2022 World Cup.
On the above basis, I assume that the other countries, USA, UK, Japan and South Korea also spent similar amounts. This means $250m at least. That a fair amount of money down the drain - just to impress FIFA. Would it not be better if that money was spent on the welfare of the citizens of these countries, especially Australia where the Aborigines deserve a lot more that they are being given?