A former member of FIFA’s executive committee was accused on Sunday of making payments totalling $5 million to senior football officials in return for support for Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup.
British newspaper The Sunday Times claims that it has obtained millions of secret documents proving that Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari national and former FIFA vice president, was lobbying on his country’s behalf ahead of the vote in December 2010.
Under a front-page headline of “Plot to buy the World Cup,” the newspaper alleges that Bin Hammam made dozens of payments to top football officials in Africa as well as Reynald Temarii and Jack Warner, the former FIFA executive committee members for Oceania and CONCACAF.
Bin Hammam is alleged to have funnelled more than $1.6 million directly into bank accounts controlled by Warner, including $450,000 before the vote. Warner resigned from football duties, including his 28-year membership of FIFA’s committee, in June 2011 to avoid investigation in a bribery scandal linked to Bin Hammam’s campaign for FIFA president.
The newspaper says the documents show that Bin Hammam paid out at least 305,000 euros ($415,000) in legal and private detective fees for Temarii after he was suspended for telling undercover reporters that he had been offered $12 million for his vote. Bin Hammam’s help allowed him to appeal the suspension and prevent his planned replacement from voting for Australia in the vote, the Sunday Times claimed.
The Sunday Times also said Bin Hammam paid $800,000 to the Ivory Coast FA, whose executive committee member Jacques Anouma agreed to “push very hard the bid of Qatar,” and signed off on two payments of $400,000 each to the federations of two other voters.
According to the newspaper, Bin Hammam used 10 slush funds controlled by his private company and cash handouts to make dozens of payments of up to $200,000 into accounts controlled by the presidents of 30 African football associations who influenced how the continent’s four executive members would vote. He also allegedly hosted lavish junkets for these African officials at which he handed out almost $400,000 in cash.
The allegations come less than two weeks before the start of the World Cup in Brazil and bring fresh scrutiny on the 2010 vote, which awarded football’s biggest tournament to the tiny desert state.