Qatar 2022 bid to be probed for corruption
Fifa has confirmed that the recently appointed chief investigator of its ethics committee will look into new corruption allegations surrounding Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar, which hugely outspent its rivals on its campaign to win the right to host the 2022 tournament in December 2010, had discussions about a $1 million sponsorship deal for a gala dinner organised by the son of a Fifa executive committee member later banned from football for three years.
The Sunday Times, which conducted the undercover investigation that led to the Nigerian Amos Adamu and other Fifa officials being banned in the run-up to the vote on the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, revealed that Qatar’s bidding committee entered talks to sponsor a gala dinner arranged by his son, Samson, on the eve of the South Africa World Cup in 2010.
The newspaper claims Qatar made arrangements to sponsor the dinner but did not go through with the deal. The gala dinner, featuring 20 African footballing legends and senior football officials in Johannesburg for the World Cup, eventually cost around a fifth of the seven-figure sum originally discussed. It remains unclear how it was ultimately funded.
The Qatar 2022 organising committee accused the Sunday Times of being “malicious and reckless” in its presentation of the discussions but admitted that they took place. “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 claimed.
“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.”
Qatar won the race to host the 2022 World Cup despite its small size and high summer temperatures following a lavishly funded campaign that included a string of deals with big-name ambassadors and contracts.