Qatar’s World Cup 2022 organizing committee denied allegations that it bribed FIFA officials to win the right to host the world’s biggest single sporting event.
The committee said in a statement Sunday that it “always upheld the highest standards of ethics and integrity in its successful bid.”
Britain’s Sunday Times (subscription required) said a Qatar official paid a $5 million bribe to FIFA members.
The paper said it had obtained “millions of emails and other documents” from a whistleblower that described how Mohammed bin Hammam allegedly used slush funds to pay the bribes.
According to the Sunday Times, bin Hammam also helped block a vote that would have awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar’s rival Australia and the 2018 tournament to England instead of Russia.
Bin Hammam was a member of FIFA’s executive committee for 16 years.
He was expelled in 2012 for financial corruption during his time as the president of the Asian Football Confederation.
Qatar’s organizing committee said Bin Hammam “played no official or unofficial role in the bid committee.”
“We vehemently deny all allegations of wrongdoing,” the committee said.
The Qatar organizers are due to meet FIFA’s New York-based ethics investigator Michael Garcia in Oman Monday.
Garcia is a partner with Kirkland & Ellis. He previously served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce said Sunday he would support a re-vote to find a new host for the 2022 World Cup if corruption allegations are proven.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5, Boyce said: “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.”
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.