KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Disgraced Qatari official Mohamed Bin Hammam has faced a renewed attack from The Sunday Times over his activities as go-between with senior political and sports officials.
The newspaper has drawn on “hundreds of millions” of documents which, it claims, point to Bin Hammam having acted covertly on behalf of Qatar’s controversial bid to win host rights to the 2022 World Cup.
Michael Garcia, FIFA’s independent ethics investigator, will report back in mid-July on his two-year inqury into the scandal-hit 2018/2022 bidding process which has seen FIFA facing demands for a re-vote.
The latest revelations by the newspaper accused Bin Hammam, who was later banned from football for life over other issues, of employing contacts within the Qatari royal family and government to further Qatar’s bid and/or his own campaign to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
Such reports do not indicate that Bin Hammam broke any of the few specific rules concerning the bidding process.
However bid rivals Australia, Japan and South Korea will be angered at his efforts on behalf of his own country when, as then president of the Asian confederation, he was duty-bound to deal evenly-handedly with all of them.
Qatar ultimately won host rights by defeating the United States in the fourth round of voting by the executive committee.
According to the emails, Bin Hammam:
* Visited Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin to discuss ‘bilateral relations’ between Russia and Qatar a month before the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups;
* Brokered government level talks for Thailand’s FIFA executive veteran Worawi Makudi to promote a deal on the importation of natural gas from Qatar to Thailand [Makudi denied benefiting from his part in any gas deal];
* Invited Germany’s former FIFA executive member Franz Beckenbauer to Doha five months after the vote with directors from an oil and gas shipping firm which was employing him as a consultant [Beckenbauer declined to respond to the newspaper];
* Set up meetings between nine FIFA exco members, including president Blatter, with members of the Qatari royal family.
* Arranged a meeting between the Qatar bid team and UEFA president Michel Platini at the European federation’s headquarters in Nyon, near Geneva [Platini, who has always said he voted for Qatar, responded that Bin Hammam did not attend the meeting].
Qatar’s World Cup organising committee has always denied that Bin Hammam undertook any official or unofficial role on its behalf.
All of the bidders for both 2018 and 2022 used senior politicians and public figures to promote their campaigns. England, in vain pursuit of the 2018 finals, made high-profile use of Prince William who also happens to be president of the Football Association; the United States, chasing 2022, involved former President Bill Clinton in its concluding presentation.
Simultaneously the modus operandi of other campaigns has come into question.
Disquiet has been raised in Germany by the refusal of Franz Beckenbauer, a member of the World Cup vote exco, to submit to an interview by Garcia.
Beckenbauer is widely believed to have voted for Russia in the 2018 ballot and to have been the lone vote for Australia in the 2022 contest. A long-time business associate of his, Fedor Radmann, was involved in the Australian bid campaign – just as he had been involved in Germany’s successful bid to win host rights to the 2006 World Cup . . . when Beckenbauer was bid and then organising leader.
‘Der Kaiser’ quit the FIFA exco in May 2011 after only one four-year term and ex-DFB president Theo Zwanziger took his place.