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Massive bribery report debunks central Qatari defense
by Paul Kennedy, March 18th, 2014 6:01PM

TAGS:  fifa, world cup 2022


[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.

  1. Kevin Sims
    commented on: March 18, 2014 at 8:29 p.m.
    Guillotine seems about right ...
  1. Ken Jamieson
    commented on: March 18, 2014 at 9:29 p.m.
    It's just one thing after another for the 2022 World Cup. Sepp Blatter was more than happy that a bribery scandal brought down his main rivals for the presidency, however he seems extremely uncomfortable about any suggestion that bribery had anything to do with Qatar getting the World Cup. Remember, that along with Korea-Japan and South Africa, awarding Qatar the World Cup was part of Blatter's master plan to take the tournament to all corners of the world, unfortunately it is being done at the expense of fairness and honesty. Unless the FBI presents credible evidence, the only way the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be sabotaged is if all the major nations boycott the event. Perhaps the time is right for a mass exodus of nations from FIFA to a new, more principled world governing body for the game. If the major football nations of the world left FIFA and formed a new organization it would kill FIFA and its culture of corruption and entitlement. FIFA no longer has the moral authority to govern the beautiful game.

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