New allegations of corruption have surfaced around the bid that won Qatar the 2022 World Cup, with England’s Sunday Times reporting that former Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam organized $5,000,000 worth of payments to various officials in exchange for their support. The investigation reports the former Asian confederation president, now banned by FIFA, gave money to African officials, former Tahitian executive committee member Reynald Temarii, as well as former CONCACAF president Jack Warner.
Per the BBC’s summary of the report, the Times’ reporting is based on “millions of secret documents – emails, letters and bank transfers – which it alleges are proof” of Bin Hammam’s corruption. With FIFA’s chief investigator into the 2018 and 2022 votes set to meet with Qatari officials on Monday, this latest report could increase the momentum against the controversial hosts.
From the BBC:
The documents also show how Bin Hammam was making payments direct to football officials in Africa to allegedly buy their support for Qatar in the contest…
Although the vast majority of the officials did not have a vote, the Sunday Times alleges Bin Hammam’s strategy was to win a groundswell of support for the Qatari bid which would then influence the four African Fifa executive committee members who were able to take part in the election.
The Sunday Times also alleges that it has documents which prove Bin Hammam paid 305,000 Euros (£250,000) to cover the legal expenses of another former Fifa executive committee member from Oceania, Reynald Temarii …
… the paper says it has evidence which shows more than $1.6m was paid by Bin Hammam to Warner, including $450,000 in the period before the vote.
This news is less surprising than verifying, perhaps providing FIFA executives with the ammunition they need to call for a re-vote. Whereas there’s already been evidence of brown paper bags full of money being passed around by the Jack Warners of the world, the Times’ investigation puts those brown bags in the hands of somebody actively working with the Qataris. Where there was previously strong suspicion, there may now be proof.
Even it this isn’t the straw, the camel’s back can’t hold much longer. Eventually, and for any number of reasons, the 2022 World Cup is going to be moved from Qatar.