1 Jun 2014

Mohamed bin Hammam accused of ‘buying World Cup’ for Qatar

The chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, tells Channel 4 News the contest for the 2022 World Cup should be re-examined if there is evidence of corruption.

A former top football official for Qatar allegedly paid more than $5m to officials linked to sport’s governing body to get support for the country to host the World Cup in 2022.

The Sunday Times said it had obtained hundreds of millions of emails and other documents that reveal how Mohamed bin Hammam used slush funds to make payments to create a “groundswell” of support for the bid.

Some of this evidence on the face of it is quite compelling Greg Dyke, chairman of the FA

Bin Hammam also allegedly helped to block a vote that would have awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar’s rival Australia, and that would have awarded the 2018 tournament to England instead of Russia, said the paper.

The allegations raise fresh questions about whether the contest for holding the 2022 World Cup should be re-run, after Fifa’s president Sepp Blatter admitted in May that awarding the tournament to Qatar had been “a mistake” due to the country’s hot weather.

Greg Dyke, chairman of the FA, told Channel 4 News: “Some of this evidence on the face of it is quite compelling.

“If the evidence is there, that the process is corrupt, then obviously the process has to be looked at again.”

Video: In May 2011, Channel 4 News Correspondent Andy Davies doorstepped Mohamed bin Hammam after big-name sponsors expressed “distress” at corruption allegations in football. At the time he said: “Nobody can claim anything [against me]”

He said many people in football were surprised when the World Cup was awarded to Qatar, given its lack of footballing history and the intense summer heat that would make life difficult for footballers.

“Many people were surprised when it went there, so I don’t think they’ll be surprised that perhaps there are suggestions that it wasn’t all above board,” he added.

“I think they are very serious allegations and they clearly need to be fully investigated by Fifa.”

Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce has told the BBC he would support a re-vote on where to hold the World Cup in 2022 if corruption allegations could be proven.

‘Slush payments’

Bin Hammam was the former Asian Football Confederation president, but resigned his AFC and Fifa roles shortly before he was banned for life from football administration by Fifa’s governing committee.

He allegedly used cash and 10 slush funds controlled by his private company to pay $200,000 into accounts controlled by the heads of 30 African football associations who had strong influence over how Africa’s four executive (Exco) members would vote.

The paper said he handed out a further $400,000 in cash to delegates at lavish events for football federation presidents and allegedly offered additional payments to delegates in private to gain support for Qatar’s bid.

Bin Hammam also allegedly paid $1.6m into accounts controlled by Jack Warner, a former vice-president of Fifa who was then the Exco member for Trinidad and Tobago, including $450,000 before the vote that secured the tournament for Qatar, said the Sunday Times.

Mr Warner also voted to hold the tournament in Russia in 2018 and stood down in 2011.

According to the paper, Bin Hammad also used his leading position on Fifa’s Goal Programme funds to direct $800,000 to the Ivory Coast football association, whose Exco member Jacques Anouma allegedly agreed to push for the Qatar bid.

Bin Hammam declined to respond to requests for comment from the Sunday Times. Members of the Qatar bid committee denied to the paper any link to Bin Hammam and said he had played no secret role in their campaign, and also said they had no knowledge of any payments he had made and they had no involvement in any improper conduct.