[WORLD CUP 2022] There was more fallout from FIFA's decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup. There were new accusations of corruption with charges that $1.5 million deals were struck for the votes of two executive committee members by a sports organization working on behalf of Qatar 2022 bid committee. And German Franz Beckenbauer, a member of the executive committee, suggested that the only way to hold the World Cup in Qatar would be to hold the tournament in January and February.
The latest allegations of corruption came in a report in the Sunday Times in which a former employee of the Qatar 2022 bid committee gave the Sunday Times dates, locations and names of those present at the meetings, including the executive committee members involved.
The cash was to go to soccer federations of the two FIFA officials; no strings were attached to how it was to be used. "Basically, if they took it into their pocket," the source said, "we don’t give a jack.”
“These allegations are very serious," Ivan Lewis, the British Labour Party secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said, "and FIFA now has a clear choice to launch an independent investigation with anyone found guilty thrown out of football, or face the fact that its authority as the governing body of football is no longer credible.” Lewis said he would present the evidence to FIFA.
An early Sunday Times investigation led to the suspension of two executive committee members, Nigerian Amos Amadu and Tahitian Reynald Temarii. The London paper came in for heavy criticism for its sting operation from FIFA executive committee members, who were sympathetic to the plight of Amadu and Temarii.
One doubts FIFA's willingness to investigate these charges reported from the same media outlet -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter is reported to have gone on about the "evils of the media" before the 2018 and 2022 votes were taken Thursday in Zurich -- though the circumstances of the cases are different. Amadu and Temarii were caught in a sting operation talking hypotheticals. In the new case, the witness was present at meetings where cash-for-votes deals were struck.
This isn't the first time there have been allegations about voter fraud in a World Cup host contest. FIFA officials interviewed in the Sunday Times investigation reported about extensive payments for votes in the 2004 South Africa-Morocco race for the 2010 World Cup.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that a source, believed to be the same former employee of the Qatar 2022 bid committee, said at least one adviser recommended that a payment of $78.4 million be made to the Argentine soccer federation (AFA), which was facing a financial crisis stemming from a dispute over the television contract with the Argentine league, to win the vote of AFA president Julio Grondona, FIFA's senior vice president.
THE KAISER'S SOLUTION. Beckenbauer told Saturday's Bild newspaper that playing the World Cup in Qatar in the winter would be a better (and cheaper) solution than air conditioning all stadiums, all the training centers and fan zones for the tournament in the summer.
"In January and February, you have comfortable [77 degrees] there," said Beckenbauer, who is believed to have supported the USA following Australia's elimination after round 1 of the 2022 voting. "Qatar won the vote and deserves a fair chance as the first host from the Middle East."
Beckenbauer, who headed the Germany 2006 World Cup organizing committee, is retiring from the executive committee after one term.