Qatar 2022 World Cup scandal: Reports of former Fifa vice-president paid millions by Qatari firm

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With Fifa’s name dragged through the mud time and time again, these latest allegations are set to rock the soccer world.

The former vice-president of soccer’s world governing body and President of CONCACAF for over two decades, Jack Warner, has been accused of receiving over $2.3 million from a Qatari firm, just days after the 2022 World Cup was awarded to the Middle East country.

According to an investigation by British newspaper, The Telegraph, Warner appears to have been personally paid $1.2 million from a company controlled by a former Qatari soccer official just after the decision to award the desert country the World Cup. Allegedly, another $750,000 was also paid to Mr Warner’s sons and a further $400,000 was paid to one of his employees.

Warner, Fifa’s vice-president for 14 years until 2011 when he stepped down following a Fifa ethics committee found him guilty of encouraging bribes. A report from the ethics committee said there was “compelling” evidence that Mr Warner was “an accessory to corruption.”

When approached by the Telegraph in his Trinidad home but refused to comment on the payments when asked about them. Warner is currently being investigated by the FBI, with reports about bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and New York are being scrutinized, and his eldest son who lives in Miami is said to be co-operating with their investigation.

(MORE: Warner resigns as national security minister of Trinidad & Tobago following fraud report)

Reportedly the documents unearthed by the Telegraph’s in-depth investigation, which saw numerous journalists scour the globe to find out details on the alleged deals, state that two weeks after Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, a statement dated December 15, 2010 was made “payable to Jack Warner” by Qatar’s Fifa executive Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Also the Telegraph claims that Warner’s two sons and an employee were paid a further $1 million by the same Qatari company, where a document allegedly states the payments were to “offset legal and other expenses”, but another letter claims more than $1 million cover “professional services provided over the period 2005-2010”.

Warner, 71, was one of the 22 members of the Fifa executive committee which voted to give Russia the 2018 World Cup and then controversially hand the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Looking back on the decision made in 2010, it was one of the most sensational stories in soccer history as the tiny Arabic nation was handed one of the world’s biggest events. At the time, I remember thinking that something didn’t quite add up as bribery allegations were rife even before the announcement was made in 2010, after two Fifa members were found guilty of agreeing to sell their votes six weeks before the decision was made.

More fallout on Warner will arrive in the next few days and hours, but the 2022 World Cup in Qatar continues to be encapsulated with controversy. A spokesman for the Qatar World Cup had the following to say.

“The 2022 bid committee strictly adhered to Fifa’s bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics. The supreme committee for delivery and legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 bid committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals.”

Landon Donovan unveiled by Club Leon

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Landon Donovan was unveiled to Club Leon fans at Estadio Leon on Monday night.

The former USMNT star and longtime LA Galaxy forward came out of retirement for the second time to sign with the Liga MX side this past weekend. Leon finished 7th in the Apertura table, losing to Tigres in the first round of the playoffs. They currently have a perfect six points through the first two Clausura matches, sitting second in the table with a +3 goal differential.

Fans were allowed into the stadium for free, and they packed the lower stand on one end, waving USA flags and holding large “L” and “D” cutouts, and the fans faced a massive board on the field that read “I DON’T BELIEVE IN WALLS.” Chants of “U-S-A” rang out through the stadium before the unveiling.

ESPN reporter Tom Marshall pointed out that the last time the club had such a large event to welcome a player, it was in January of 2013 when the club brought Mexico captain Rafa Marquez in from the New York Red Bulls.

Donovan will don the number 20 for Club Leon.

Report: Rimando to return to RSL

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USMNT veteran and current MLS free agent Nick Rimando will reportedly return to Real Salt Lake for a 12th season with the club, according to a report by Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep.

The report states he received interest on the free agent market from both Los Angeles clubs, but the 38-year-old will return to the club he has made 350 appearances for.

Rimando came to Real Salt Lake from D.C. United in 2006, and has made at least 24 league appearances in every single season since. He has also made 22 playoff appearances for the club across eight playoff campaigns.

He last received a USMNT cap in January of 2017 in a friendly against Serbia, but was part of the 2018 World Cup qualification squad throughout 2017 backing up Tim Howard. Overall, Rimando has played 22 times for the US national team, with 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets.

The report also states that Kyle Beckerman will return to Rio Tinto Stadium, with the veteran also testing the free agent waters but deciding to re-sign. The pair will be two of just four players left on the roster from the 2009 MLS Cup winning team.

Report: Aubameyang hands in transfer request at Dortmund

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According to German publication Bild, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has handed a transfer request to the Borussia Dortmund hierarchy.

Arsenal is the latest club linked with the Gabonese striker, with reports earlier this month of a deal to send Aubameyang to China. He has reportedly asked to leave Dortmund multiple times this January, and has been turned down thus far, and it’s causing problems. Aubameyang was suspended by the club for one match for missing a meeting last week, a match that ended in a goalless draw with Wolfsburg.

[ MORE: Man United, Chelsea battle for Alexis Sanchez ]

“We had a very heated discussion,” said Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc after the suspension was announced. “He hasn’t behaved like this for years, he’s always been very professional. What has happened is very tolerable, there will be some fines, too. It’s not necessary to talk about a transfer, but it’s clear that things can’t continue like this because some important things are in jeopardy, and that there is tension inside the squad.”

The price tag, according to recent reports, would be around $76 million, and he would be purchased with money from the likely outgoing transfer of Alexis Sanchez.

Arsenal transfer guru Sven Mislintat is reportedly driving the deal, having signed Aubameyang at Dortmund during his days as a scout from Westfalinstadion. However, there is buzz among the British media that Arsene Wenger is unimpressed by Aubameyang’s recent insubordination and has expressed his concerns.

Emre Can says new Liverpool contract still a possibility

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Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is out of contract this summer, but says he could still sign back on at Anfield despite heavy rumors of his departure.

Still just 24 years old, the German came over from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2014 and has improved in each of his four years at Liverpool, flourishing under Jurgen Klopp as a strong passer and versatile player who can be used in midfield or defense. With that, he has reportedly turned down a number of new contract offers, and Juventus is reportedly in the lead to sign him to a free transfer.

[ MORE: Arsenal should follow Liverpool’s rebuilding example ]

Can is eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement with anyone from now until the end of the season, but he says that doesn’t mean he will leave.

“My agent is looking after everything but I am here until the summer,” Can said. “I haven’t signed anything with anyone. I am talking with everyone. Of course I am talking with Liverpool. Why not? I still have a contract here. It is an amazing club. What can I say? My agent does the rest. I just concentrate on the scene, on my performance and the football. I will give everything for this team.”

The loss of Philippe Coutinho this winter is an obvious blow to the Reds, but an argument could be made that the loss of Can would hurt just as much if not more, as stout defensive midfielders are hard to come by. However, the arrival of Naby Kieta this summer could ease the blow of the German’s potential departure. Should Can stay, partnering with Keita in midfield could prove masterful as Liverpool looks to continue building towards a title challenge. Currently, Can has paired with Giorgino Wijnaldum in Liverpool’s midfield in recent weeks, and the club is on a five-match win streak that has seen them shoot into third place in the Premier League table.