Bin Hammam 'helped Qatar buy World Cup' claims British paper
Sunday Times says it obtained millions of documents relating to alleged payments
A British newspaper alleged on Sunday that a former top Qatari football official paid US$5 million to get support for the emirate’s campaign to host the 2022 World Cup.
The Sunday Times said it had obtained millions of e-mails and other documents relating to alleged payments made by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the then Fifa executive member for Qatar.
It alleged that Bin Hammam, who is also the ex-Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president, used slush funds to pay out the cash to top football officials to win a “groundswell” of support for Qatar’s World Cup bid.
The Qatar 2022 bid committee’s has denied wrongdoing, stressing that Bin Hammam “played no official or unofficial role in the bid committee”.
However, most Fifa voters in December 2010 were Bin Hammam’s longtime colleagues.
The Qatari committee added: “We vehemently deny all allegations of wrongdoing. We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar’s bid and our lawyers are looking into this matter.”
Bin Hammam, who launched an abortive challenge against incumbent Fifa president Sepp Blatter, resigned from his Fifa and AFC posts in 2012, shortly before he was banned for life from football administration by the global governing body’s ethics committee.
The newspaper said Bin Hammam had made payments of up to US$200,000 into accounts controlled by the presidents of 30 African football associations, and hosted hospitality events in Africa at which he handed out further funds, to get backing for Qatar’s bid.
Bin Hammam also paid US$1.6 million into bank accounts controlled by Jack Warner, the former vice-president of Fifa, US$450,000 of which was before the vote for the World Cup, the Sunday Times said.
Warner was one of the 22 people who in 2010 decided to award Russia the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 tournament. He stood down in 2011.
The latest allegations come two months after Britain’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper alleged that a company owned by Hammam had paid money to Warner.
Bin Hammam did not respond to questions from the Sunday Times and his son declined to comment on his behalf, the newspaper said.
It quoted the Qatari committee behind the World Cup bid as denying that Bin Hammam played any secret role in their campaign, or had any knowledge of the alleged payments.
The decision to give the World Cup to Qatar, a country with little football history, provoked widespread condemnation particularly over health concerns for leading players forced to play in the desert nation’s stifling summer heat.
Blatter said in May that it was a mistake to choose Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup because of the country’s sweltering summer climate.