[WORLD CUP 2022] Qatar 2022 organizers quickly moved to distance themselves from reports of massive payoffs by a firm controlled by Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former president of the Asian Football Confederation, to firms and associates of Trinidadian Jack Warner, the former Concacaf president, but the Daily Telegraph report certainly debunks a central argument of Qatar 2022 World Cup chief Hassan al-Thawadi that there was "not a shred of evidence" to support any of the many claims of corruption that have arisen over the last three-plus years.
The Qatar 2022 statement doesn't deny that corruption might have taken place. It only states that the bid committee
didn't do it and whatever might have been done wasn't in violation of FIFA's bidding rules in place at the time.
"The 2022 Bid Committee strictly adhered
to FIFA's bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics. The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 Bid Committee are unaware of any
allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals."
Leaked documents show that Bin Hammam’s firm, Kemco, transferred more than $2 million to Warner and
others in 2011 to “offset professional services provided over the period 2005-2010." While they may relate to Qatar and its successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup, the Warner-Bin Hammam
conspiracy was also part of Bin Hammam's ongoing effort to enlist Warner in Bin Hammam's bid to unseat Sepp Blatter as FIFA president that ended in 2011 when
Warner resigned and Bin Hammam was suspended after a plot to bribe Caribbean soccer leaders was exposed.
The evidence in the Daily Telegraph report, believed to be among the results of
the FBI investigation into Warner, won't likely bring down the Qatar 2022 World Cup on its own, but it is a another huge cloud that will hang over the organization of the tournament until the FIFA
investigation by American prosecutor Michael Garcia is completed and FIFA's executive committee takes any action based on the results of the investigation.
Above all, the report certainly hits home: Warner was the patron saint of American soccer for two decades. In 2009, he even went on a 90-minute tour of the White House and boasted how he visited every room and President Barack Obama "gave me a pair of Barack Obama cufflinks
which I will treasure until I die."
Turns out, Warner was likely doublecrossing the USA, publicly supporting its World Cup 2022 bid on one hand and privately taking millions from a Qatari
insider on the other.
No one will never know how Warner voted, though. The results of the 14-8 vote for Qatar over the USA in the fourth and final round of voting for the 2022 World Cup
host -- Australia, Japan and South Korea were eliminated in earlier round -- was never made public.