Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid has been hit by new corruption allegations, with the UK’s Sunday Times reporting that a former Qatari football official paid $5 million to FIFA representatives in exchange for their support for Qatar’s bid.
The newspaper said 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 dozens of payments to senior officials.
It 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.
Bin Hammam did not respond to calls from the newspaper.
The former FIFA member was banned from football for life in July 2011 after it was proven that he had bribed senior officials at the Caribbean Football Union to buy votes in the FIFA presidential election. While his ban was annulled the next year, he quit football.
The Qatar 2022 committee has categorically denied his involvement in the bid, but several allegations of corruption have surfaced.
In March this year, The Daily Telegraph reported that former FIFA executive committee member Jack Warner received $1.2 million from a company controlled by Bin Hammam in December 2010, weeks after Qatar was awarded hosting rights for the tournament.
The FBI is investigating Warner and his alleged links to the Qatari bid, the report added.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has backed the Gulf state and denied any wrongdoing. Although admitting that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was a “mistake” because of the weather conditions in the country, he rubbished allegations that Qatar had bought the World Cup.
“I will never say that they bought it, because it was political pushing,” he told Swiss broadcaster RTS in May.