New allegations of corruption surrounding the 2022 tournament in Qatar have surfaced recently and if they stand, the nation could be stripped of the tournament.
Secret documents obtained by the UK’s Sunday Times, including emails, letters and bank transfers, reportedly show Bin Hammam had been wooing FIFA officials for at least a year before its decision to award Qatar the 2022 hosting duties. Qatari football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam paid off football officials with the reported sum beig nearly $5 million, in order to gain support for the country’s World Cup bid, according to the daily. At the time, Bin Hammam was a member of FIFA’s executive committee, but he was expelled two years ago by the committee for financial corruption during his time as president of the Asian Football Confederation. Bin Hammam is alleged to have used ‘ten secret slush funds to make dozens of payments, many of them to accounts controlled by the heads of 30 African football associations who could lobby the continent’s four executive members over how to vote’
Questions were raised when the bid was won by Qatar back in 2010, and USA, Japan and Australia were unsuccessful in getting the prestigious tournament to their country. It was wondered as to why FIFA would award the World Cup to a small Gulf state with no footballing history and no stadia. It basically came as a shock to everyone when Qatar got the nod ahead of USA, Australia and Japan. But FIFA president Sepp Blatter declared that through this, football was going to “new lands”.
Angered by Qatar’s victory, the US and Australian governing bodies, or sources close to them are said to have both hired teams of private detectives who have been collecting evidence ever since about the motives of Fifa members in voting for Qatar. It is unclear whether there lies a connection between these investigations and the leak of documents to The Sunday Times, but after analyzing the entire scenario, there are more chances of it being true.
Meanwhile, FIFA investigator and New York lawyer Michael Garcia hopes to complete his investigation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process by 9 June. He said that he planned to submit a report of his findings to FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber by the end of July
“It’s a serious development, they’re serious allegations and we’re looking to see what the response will be. We’ve been heavily involved in this now for many months in terms of the investigation that Mr Garcia is carrying out” said FFA chief executive David Gallop.
The executive director of Japan’s defeated bid, Yuichiro Nakajima, also said he would support a move to re-submit the bid.
“I can’t speak on behalf of the Japan FA – I’m not representing them now – but if I were in the position to say so, yes I would. The Sunday Times report does point to a number of areas that could be tightened up and sorted out”, Nakajima said
The senior officials have said that there should be a re-vote for the selection of the hosts for the particular tournament, if the allegations do indeed, prove to be true.