Allegations of corruption and bribery in Qatar’s successful 2022 Football World Cup bid have been met by calls to reopen the decision on where to hold the tournament.
Millions of secret documents given to the Sunday Times allegedly show former Fifa vice-president Mohammed Bin Hammam organised payments to officials in order to sway the vote, and award the world’s biggest sporting event to the tiny desert nation.
Mr Hammam, who is one of Qatar’s top football officials, is accused of paying more than $5 million (£2,983,000) in ‘slush funds’ to secure Qatar’s place as host to the tournament.
It is alleged that Mr Hammam focused on football associations in Africa to create a ‘groundswell of support’ for his country’s bid.
The Sunday Times claims that several payments, some as large as £200,000, were paid into the accounts of 30 different African football associations.
The files, leaked by a whistleblower, also accuse Mr Hammam of handing out $400,000 (£239,000) to decision makers while entertaining them at lavish parties in order to buy their vote.
The revelations have caused many football and sporting officials to call for the 2022 Football World Cup bid to be reopened.
Ex-Fifa Governance Committee member Alexandra Wrage described the allegations as a ‘smoking gun’, while John Whittingdale, chairman of Commons Culture Committee said: ‘There is an overwhelming case that the decision as to where the World Cup should be held in 2022 should be run again.’
Shadow sport minister Clive Efford said: ‘FIFA must take urgent action and reopen the bidding for the 2022 World Cup if it wants to restore its credibility.’
Qatar was seen as a strange choice by many when it was awarded the coveted prize of hosting the tournament. The country, which is smaller than Yorkshire and only has a population on 1.6 million, has no existing football infrastructure, and plans to ban the singing of chants and the revealing of shoulders or knees during games.
There are also concerns that the nation’s extreme temperatures could cause a health risk to players and spectators.
1 June 2014 | 4:53 pm – Source: metro.co.uk