CAIRO: Issa Hayatou, Cameroonian president of the African Football Confederation, has hit back at weekend corruptions allegations over the 2022 World Cup hosting vote writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Hayatou, also a vice-president of world federation FIFA and a member of the International Olympic Committee, has rarely ever ventured into making any sort of a public or media comment on the controversies at the pinnacle of the game’s government.
However Hayatou – who was given a rap over the knuckles by the IOC for accepting cash from bankrupt marketing partner ISL – has set out a full rebuttal of all the charges levelled against him in a statement issued through CAF.
The Sunday Times claimed that Hayatou was among more than 30 African football officials favoured by Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam in what it alleged to have been covert support for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.
The Qataris have denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Hayatou, in his statement, described as “fanciful” claims that he had “received valuable gifts from Mr Bin Hammam and would have also been greatly pampered during a tour in Doha in December 2009. The CAF president never attended events from invitations of Mr Bin Hammam either in Doha or Kuala Lumpur.”
He also rejected claims that Bin Hammam, in his role as president of FIFA’s Goal development grant project had offered the Cameroon federation with a project worth $400 000 in exchange of support and votes for Qatar.
“The allegation ‘demonstrated cruel ignorance’ of the functions of FIFA bodies,” said Hayatou, explaining: “In FIFA committees, decisions are not taken by presidents of the committees unilaterally but are collective decisions.”
Hayatou questioned a claim that he had received World Cup match tickets from Bin Hammam and further described them as “ridiculous.”
He denied receiving any money from Bin Hammam, the Emir of Qatar or any member of the Qatar 2022 bidding committee, denied a report of a meeting with the Emir, denied that Bin Hammam arranged medical treatment for him after he voted for Qatar 2022.
Hayatou said: “No such arrangement was made and is a pure invention. The only treatment . . . received in Qatar related to a dialysis session in Doha in early January 2011 during the AFC Congress.”
He described accusations of being offered luxury accommodation and business class flight tickets as “a lie meant to manipulate public opinion.”
Hayatou said such allegations were “discredit not only [me] as a person but the whole [African] continent.”