Qatari football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam paid off soccer officials to the tune of nearly $5 million in order to gain support for the country’s World Cup bid, according to allegations revealed Sunday.
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.
The documents show payments were distributed to African football officials to gain support for the Qatari bid and sway the four African executive committee members who were able to vote on the bids.
Qatar, one of the world’s richest countries per capita, and Bin Hammam deny any wrongdoing leading up to the vote in December 2010, and the country said Bin Hammam was never officially involved with the Qatar 2022 campaign.
Bin Hammam, through his son Hamad Al Abdulla, declined to comment when asked by the Sunday Times to respond to the allegations.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is facing pressure to re-run the vote for the 2022 World Cup. The original vote was run parallel to the 2018 election that eliminated England in the first round.
FIFA is currently operating a long-running investigation into wrongdoing for the 2018 and 2022 decisions, run by chief investigator Michael Garcia. He had been scheduled to meet with Qatar 2022 senior officials on Monday in Oman.
FIFA Vice-President Jim Boyce told ITV News Sunday that he would have “no hesitation” in backing a Qatar World Cup re-vote if the allegations are found to be completely true.