Qatari official reportedly paid out $5m to support World Cup bid

Newspaper alleges Mohamed bin Hammam made payments to help Gulf state win competition

Mohamed Bin Hammam with Sepp Blatter in Qatar in 2010. Photograph: Mohammed Dabbous/Reuters

Mohamed Bin Hammam with Sepp Blatter in Qatar in 2010. Photograph: Mohammed Dabbous/Reuters

 

A former top Qatari football official reportedly paid $5 million (€3.6 million) to get support for the emirate’s campaign to host the 2022 World Cup.

The Sunday Times reported today that it had obtained millions of emails and other documents relating to alleged payments made by Mohamed bin Hammam, the then Fifa executive member for Qatar.

It alleged that Mr Bin Hammam, also the former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president, used slush funds to pay out the cash to top football officials to win a “groundswell” of support for Qatar’s World Cup bid.

Mr Bin Hammam, who launched an abortive challenge against incumbent Fifa president Sepp Blatter, resigned from his Fifa and AFC posts in 2012, shortly before he was banned for life from football administration by the global governing body’s ethics committee.

The newspaper said Mr Bin Hammam had made payments of up to $200,000 into accounts controlled by the presidents of 30 African football associations, and hosted hospitality events in Africa at which he handed out further funds, to get backing for Qatar’s bid.

Bin Hammam also paid $1.6 million into bank accounts controlled by the Trinidadian Jack Warner, also a former vice-president of Fifa, $450,000 of which was before the vote for the World Cup, the Sunday Times said.

Warner was one of the 22 people who in 2010 decided to award Russia the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 tournament. He stood down in 2011.

Two months ago the Daily Telegraph alleged that a company owned by Hammam had paid money to Warner.

Mr Bin Hammam did not respond to questions and his son declined to comment on his behalf, the Sunday Times said.

It quoted the Qatari committee behind the World Cup bid as denying that Mr Bin Hammam played any secret role in its campaign, or had any knowledge of the alleged payments.

The decision to give the World Cup to Qatar, a country with little football history, provoked widespread condemnation particularly over health concerns for players forced to play in the desert nation’s stifling summer heat.

Mr Blatter said in May it was a mistake to choose Qatar because of the climate.

Agencies

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