01 June 2014 | News

Qatar denies 2022 World Cup bribery

Qatar has strongly denied a British newspaper report that a former top Qatari football official paid more than €3.7m to win support for its bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

"We vehemently deny all allegations of wrongdoing," said Qatar's WC2022 organising committee.

"We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar's bid and our lawyers are looking into this matter."

Britain's Sunday Times said it had obtained millions of emails, documents and bank transfers relating to alleged payments by Mohamed bin Hammam, then a member of the executive committee of FIFA.

It alleged that Bin Hammam, who is also a former Asian Football Confederation president, used slush funds to pay cash to top football officials to win a "groundswell" of support for Qatar's World Cup bid.

"We say again that Mohamed Bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar's 2022 Bid Committee," the Qatari committee said.

It said Qatar's bid team "had to convince Mr Bin Hammam of the merits" of the Gulf state's bid, just as was the case with other members of the FIFA executive committee.

"The right to host the tournament was won because it was the best bid and because it is time for the Middle East to host its first FIFA World Cup," it said.

FIFA is investigating the 2010 vote that awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and the 2018 tournament to Russia, following previous corruption accusations.

A report by FIFA chief investigator Michael Garcia, a top US lawyer, is to be finalised this year.

"We are cooperating fully with Mr Garcia's ongoing investigation and remain totally confident that any objective enquiry will conclude we won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup fairly," the committee said.

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, who was not on the executive committee on the world governing body at the time of the vote, said he would be in favour of re-running the vote for the 2022 World Cup if the allegations were proven.

"As a member currently of the FIFA executive committee, we feel that any evidence whatsoever that people involved were bribed to do a certain vote, all that evidence should go to Michael Garcia, whom FIFA have given full authority to, and let's await the report that comes back from Garcia," he said.

"If Garcia's report comes up and his recommendations are that wrongdoing happened for that vote for the 2022 World Cup, I certainly as a member of the executive co would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote."

Boyce pointed out that 50% of the executive committee members at the time of the 2022 vote had since left the governing body.

He also insisted FIFA president Sepp Blatter's position should not be called into question by the allegations.