LONDON: Jim Boyce, world federation FIFA’s British vice-president, has said he would back a re-vote for the 2022 World Cup host if corruption allegations were confirmed writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Boyce, from Northern Ireland, was commenting on the latest claims in The Sunday Times concerning ‘millions of documents’ suggesting financial links between Mohamed Bin Hammam and senior international football officials.
Bin Hammam was winding up a personal bid for the FIFA presidency at the same time as Qatar was bidding to host the 2022 finals.
To all intents and purposes, as Asian confederation president, Bin Hammam distanced himself overtly from the Qatar bid. Had he not done so he would have been accused of conflict of interest by other AFC bidders such as Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Boyce, who was not on the executive committee on the world governing body at the time of the vote, said FIFA’s chief investigator Michael Garcia, who is already looking into allegations of corruption, would now have to widen his investigation.
Interviewed on BBC Radio’s Sportsweek, he said: “As a member currently of the FIFA executive committee, we feel that any evidence whatsoever that people involved were bribed to do a certain vote, all that evidence should go to Michael Garcia, whom FIFA have given full authority to, and let’s await the report that comes back from Garcia.
“If Garcia’s report comes up and his recommendations are that wrongdoing happened for that vote for the 2022 World Cup, I certainly as a member of the executive co would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote.
“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 at that time, there’s no doubt about that.”
Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA in 2011 over bribery allegations concerning his vain presidential bid and then – after appealing to CAS – banned for life again over allegations of misuse of funds of the AFC.
He always denied all wrongdoing, as have the Qatar World Cup bidding and organising committees.
Boyce warned that Garcia’s investigation should not be hurried. He said: “The man has got to be given full control to do that investigation thoroughly and if it takes more time to do that investigation thoroughly so be it.
“I have not met Garcia, but I’m told he’s a man of the very, very highest calibre and I’m told he’s someone who will not shirk the responsibilities that he has been given. I certainly hope that’s going to be the situation.”
Yuuichiro Nakajima, a senior member of Japan’s 2022 bid operation, considered the allegations, if true, as “explosive.”
He said: “They are very damaging to FIFA’s credibility: not just to the credibility of the bid but the entire organisation and how it is run. There is a great need for a root and branch restructuring of the way FIFA is run.
“I remember the International Olympic Committee went through a similar process over the Salt Lake City Games and restored its credibility . . . restructuring needs to happen if the governing body is to retain any sense of authority in the years to come.
“I don’t think this was the way to go about running anything.”
Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general, said last month that he hoped Garcia could publish his report before the imminent World Cup in Brazil.
This now appears out of question.