Qatar officials in charge of the FIFA 2022 World Cup will meet the football body’s investigator Michael Garcia on Monday following fresh corruption allegations, it has been reported.
The investigation comes on the heels of a report by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper that a former Qatari football official paid $5 million to FIFA representatives in exchange for their support for Qatar’s bid.
The newspaper claimed that it had millions of secret documents including emails, letters and bank transfers to prove that Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former vice-president of FIFA, used “secret slush funds” to make payments to senior officials.
It also alleged that Bin Hammam paid football officials in Africa up to $200,000 to buy their support for Qatar. The paper also stated that he paid 305,000 euros to cover the legal expenses of Reynald Temarii, another former FIFA executive committee member from Oceania.
Garcia, who is due to meet with the officials in Oman, was already conducting a long running enquiry into the 2018 and 2022 bids due to previous allegations.
This latest twist has resulted in renewed calls for a re-vote on hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup.
FIFA vice president Jim Boyce said that he would recommend a re-vote if such allegations were proved true.
“I certainly as a member of the executive committee would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote,” Boyce said in an interview on BBC Radio Five Live.
“If Garcia comes up with concrete evidence – and concrete evidence is given to the executive committee and to FIFA – then it has to be looked at very seriously.”
Former attorney general Lord Goldsmith, a member of FIFA’s independent committee on governance, was quoted as saying on BBC Radio 4: ”If it is proved that the decision to give Qatar the World Cup was procured by, frankly one can describe it no other way, bribery and improper influence, then that decision ought not to stand.”
Meanwhile, Qatari officials have denied any wrong doing and rejected claims that Bin Hammam actively lobbied on the behalf of the Gulf state.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has also backed the Gulf state and dismissed claims that Qatar had bought the event. However, he admitted in May that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake” because of the weather conditions in the country.