DOHA: Qatar’s World Cup organisers have strenuously denied any wrongdoing in the process which ended in success for their bid to host the 2022 World Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Today’s statement from the Supreme Committee follows the publication by The Sunday Times of allegations about the conduct of Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari who was then president of the Asian Football Confederation and a member of the executive committee of world governing body FIFA.
The newspaper claims to have reviewed “millions of documents” which, it says, suggest he paid sums totalling around $5m to other football officials.
The Supreme Committee said:
“The Qatar 2022 Bid Committee always upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity in its successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
*In regard to the latest allegations from The Sunday Times, we say again that Mohamed Bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee. As was the case with every other member of FIFA’s Executive Committee, our bid team had to convince Mr. Bin Hammam of the merits of our bid.
“We are cooperating fully with Mr. Garcia’s on-going investigation and remain totally confident that any objective enquiry will conclude we won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ fairly.
“Following today’s newspaper articles, we vehemently deny all allegations of wrong-doing. We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar’s bid and our lawyers are looking in to this matter. The right to host the tournament was won because it was the best bid and because it is time for the Middle East to host its first FIFA World Cup™.”
Separately, in an interview with CNN about Doha’s new international airport, Qatar Airways ceo Akbar Al Baker described attacks on his country’s World Cup hosting as emanating from “people who are enemies of our region.”
Bin Hammam himself, in a response reported by Bloomberg, said: “Frankly there is nothing to respond about . . . as you see all their stories end nowhere.”
A request to FIFA for a comment was answered with a reference to the New York office of independent ethics investigator Michael Garcia. No comment has yet been forthcoming.