African chiefs slam 'hateful and defamatory campaign' against continent
African football bosses slammed the British media over its Qatar World Cup corruption revelations, accusing outlets of waging a “hateful, defamatory and degrading” campaign against the continent.
The Sunday Times in Britain has published a series of reports in recent weeks alleging that African officials among others were paid bribes to help influence the outcome of the 2022 World Cup vote won by Qatar.
Qatar World Cup organisers have angrily denied wrongdoing.
In a strongly worded statement issued after the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) general assembly in Sao Paulo, the body said the newspaper reports were an attack on “the entire African continent”.
CAF also used the statement to offer staunch support of world football chief Sepp Blatter, who is tipped to announce this week he plans to run for a fifth four-year term as president of Fifa.
“Considering the repeated, deliberately hateful, defamatory and degrading attacks by some media, notably British, on the image and the integrity of the Confederation of African Football, its president, its members, its member associations and the entire African continent,” the statement said.
CAF railed against “persistent manipulation aimed at portraying to the international community that Africa played a preponderant role” in voting for Qatar’s successful World Cup bid.
“It was done by a majority vote of the Fifa executive committee, of which Africa had only three representatives over 22 at the time of taking the vote,” it added.
CAF’s general assembly urged the body’s executive committee to take legal action over the reports “so that the authors of this smearing and defamatory campaign against African football leaders are brought to book”.
The CAF assembly, meanwhile praised Blatter, citing his “continuous involvement in the development of football in Africa”.
The Sunday Times said the Qatari former head of the Asian Football Confederation, Mohamed bin Hammam, had paid bribes to dozens of African football officials in order to secure their support for the 2022 bid.
The paper said CAF president Issa Hayatou had private medical treatment paid for by Bin Hammam, while other officials received cash and luxury trips.
Hayatou has denied the allegations, branding them “fanciful” and ”ridiculous”.