A FIFA official said he would support a re-vote to determine a new host for the 2022 World Cup if allegations of corruption and bribery in a newspaper report are true.
The Sunday Times reported that football officials took a total of received the equivalent of $5 million in return for their support of Qatar’s bid for the games after reviewing documents from an inquiry by Michael Garcia, FIFA’s chief investigator. Qatar’s bid committee said in a statement that it denies all allegations.
“I certainly as a member of the executive committee would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote,” FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce said on BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek. “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. The FIFA executive committee are 100 percent. He will be allowed to go and speak to anyone from around the world to complete his mission.”
The Times says millions of secret documents, including emails, letters and bank transfers, allegedly show that Mohamed bin Hammam, the former Asian Football Confederation president, made payments to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid. BBC sports editor David Bond, who says he has seen the documents, reports that they allegedly show bin Hammam made payments into accounts controlled by the presidents of 30 African football associations to allegedly buy their support for Qatar.”
Bin Hammam’s son, Hamad Al Abdulla, declined to comment on his father’s behalf to the Times. Although bin Hammam was banned for life from the sport in July 2011 after he was found guilty of trying to bribe voters in the FIFA presidential elected, that was annulled a year later when the Court of Arbitration for Sport found it was based on insufficient evidence. He was banned in 2012 for “conflicts of interest” while he was president of the Asian Football Confederation.
Greg Dyke, chairman of the Football Association, told the BBC that he agreed with Boyce. “I think if it is shown it was a corrupt system and that the people who won used bribes and other influences to get the vote, then of course it has got to be done again.”
Suspicions arose at virtually the moment Qatar was awarded the 2022 Cup and, since then, there has been controversy over the country’s labor laws and its stance on homosexuality. And the competition is likely to have to be moved because of the country’s extreme summer heat.