Report: Former Qatari FIFA official sent bribes for Qatar 2022 WC support

MohamedBinHammam1 (AP)

By DAN KARELL

Qatar’s winning 2022 World Cup bid is under fresh criticism after the latest scandal broke, which includes allegations of bribes paid in exchange for votes.

Serial briber Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari national who was formerly the president of the Asian Football Confederation, a FIFA vice president, and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, is alleged to have a number of payments totaling $5 million USD in an effort to gain support for Qatar’s World Cup bid, according to a blockbuster report (behind paywall) from the London Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times say they have “obtained millions of secret documents” including e-mails, letters, and bank statements, that are proof that Bin Hammam helped buy the World Cup vote for Qatar.

While the Qatar 2022 Local Organizing Committee and Bin Hammam himself stated in the past that he wasn’t working on the nation’s behalf, the report seems to prove otherwise, including payments that began at least one year prior to the infamous vote on Dec. 2, 2010.

The documents obtained by the Sunday Times reportedly show that Bin Hammam made payments both to buy votes and also ensure a vote against the 2022 Qatar bid was not cast.

In a bid to gain support from the four African FIFA ExCo members, Bin Hammam allegedly made “dozens of payments totaling $200,000″ into the bank accounts of presidents of more than 30 African confederations. These payments came from at least ten slush funds controlled by his private company or family accounts as well as other cash handouts at events held in Qatar.

Another allegation is that Bin Hammam sent more than $1.6 million into bank accounts held by disgraced former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Jack Warner, including at least $450,000 prior to the vote. The Daily Telegraph reported last March that they held documents alleging Bin Hammam also paid Warner and his family more than $1.2 million after Qatar won the vote.

Thirdly, Bin Hammam is alleged to have paid for the legal fees ($350,000) for the then-suspended Reynald Tamarii of Oceania, which kept Tamarii’s deputy David Chung from voting for England for 2018 and Australia for 2022, according to the report.

Tamarii is a former FIFA ExCo member from Tahiti who had been banned by FIFA from voting in the World Cup elections in 2010 after the Sunday Times had captured him asking for money in exchange for his vote.

By paying Tamarii’s legal fees, Bin Hammam allowed Tamarii to file an appeal, meaning that the deputy wouldn’t be able to vote on Tamarii’s behalf. It’s unknown whether a vote for Australia for 2022 would have changed the outcome, since FIFA doesn’t publish the results of the World Cup votes.

Bin Hammam was given a life-time ban by FIFA in 2011 after he was charged with offering bribes along with Warner to members of the Caribbean Football Union in exchange for his vote in that year’s FIFA presidential election. Bin Hammam withdrew from the elections just a day before an ethics hearing would meet to discuss the charges and evidence, which was reported by some presidents of the CFU itself.

After appealing to the Court of Arbitration and Sport in April 2012, Bin Hammam’s life-time ban was annulled, though the court said that the annulment didn’t necessarily declare Bin Hammam’s innocence, only that FIFA did not have enough evidence to give him a life-time ban. Since that decision Bin Hammam has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, retiring from his soccer administration life.

When contacted by the Sunday Times, Bin Hammam’s son Hamad Al Abdulla declined to comment on the allegations against his father.

FIFA also declined to comment to the scathing report.

The World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022 are both under investigation by former U.S. attorney for the southern district of NewYork, Michael Garcia, as part of FIFA’s ethics commission to uncover and clean out corruption. Garcia and his associates have been spending the last 12 months interviewing members of every nation’s bidding committees who were involved in running for the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.

The Sunday Times stated that they shared their information with Garcia. Garcia is expected to meet with members of Qatar’s bidding committee this week but it’s unknown if these new allegations will delay or postpone those meetings.

Qatar’s World Cup bid has come under intense scrutiny almost since day one, with allegations of corruption and bribes to the dangers of playing the tournament in the summer, where the temperatures can rise as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Both FIFA president Sepp Blatter and U.S. Soccer Federation president and FIFA ExCo member Sunil Gulati have stated in the past that the 2022 World Cup will without a doubt be taking place Qatar. It remains to be seen whether the new allegations change their and other ExCo member’s minds.

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What do you think of this report? Surprised at the information coming out? Think that FIFA could re-think their decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup? Do you see FIFA doing anything about these allegations?

Share your thoughts below.

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37 Responses to Report: Former Qatari FIFA official sent bribes for Qatar 2022 WC support

  1. VdV says:

    At this stage, I don’t even care if the US gets it–just take it away from those bastards.

    • Mike says:

      yes. What VdV said. And we all know Russia probably wasn’t any cleaner ….

    • shockedandawed says:

      Agreed

    • Jake says:

      Yep. Anywhere but Qatar. They can come back when they are legitimately ready. I’d love for the WC to be somewhere in the Middle East soon… even across a couple of countries if necessary. Just not this way in 2022. Think it through a little bit, guys!

      • Mason says:

        They’ll never be legitimately ready. There’s only one city of any size in that country and it’s too damn hot to play it in the summer.

  2. Norn Iron says:

    Despite this damning report, why do I get the sense that Blatter will shrug it off and dismiss it as “unproven allegations.”

  3. shockedandawed says:

    It will be interesting to see what else the Times has on these guys. Really not a surprise but this seems to be hard evidence rather than simply conjecture.

  4. JayAre says:

    They were bought for only $5 million in brides I thought it would be way more than that. I don’t really understand how the money distribution works in FIFA but the game has grown so much in the US that all these officials probable would have made way more money hosting the tournament here legitimately.

    • AMP says:

      Agreed, especially considering that $5 million in brides only get you like 2 or 3 brides, and they aren’t even guaranteed to like you.

      Seriously though, that number does seem a little low.

    • JoeW says:

      $5 million is all they could prove. My understanding is that the Excomm members get treated like royalty when they make site visits. Anyone want to bet that there were high-end escort services, lots of free booze, high-class hotel rooms, maybe even private jets all made available for certain members? None of that probably counted in the $5 million.

  5. Stinky Pete says:

    FIFA would make more money in the US but that doesn’t mean the individuals who were bribed would make more money and in there lied the rub.

  6. Quit whining about US soccer says:

    Once somebody’a daughter was making millions is a thing going to shock ?

  7. beto says:

    Tell me something i dont know…

    So are they proven guilty yet?!?

  8. Zocklo says:

    FIFA is simply one the most corrupt organizations in the world. There is next to zero chance that the WC will be moved from Qatar

    • whoop-whoop says:

      I don’t know… you leak this, pull the WC from Qatar and commence taking payments from new suitors. That money is a distant memory and there are still many years remaining with which to milk more bribes. Gangsta can’t go that long without proper employment.

  9. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    We should also probably mention Qatar’s enslavement of east Asian workers, and the terrible treatment, injury, disease, death, etc. suffered by these poor folk.

    • Lorenzo says:

      My father was just telling me about this. Awful.

      USA should just do at Super Copa America every cycle with invites to a top Africa, European, and Asian Team.

  10. Landon Klinsmann says:

    “We go to new lands!” is the criteria FIFA used, it had nothing to do with money!

    Also, I have swampland in Florida to sell anyone who is interested.

    FIFA just needs to be disbanded. Sports don’t need an international governing body, just a small company or committee to put on tournaments. All FIFA provides the soccer world with is unappealable corruption.

  11. ElMetrofan says:

    In other news: ice melts.

  12. vik says:

    I’d like to see the raw documents. But I will say my faith in this organization has been rocked. FIFA and corruption? Why I never…

  13. Brain Guy says:

    I am shocked! Shocked!

  14. Jim says:

    Not surprised at all, freaking pathetic. Need to put Harvey Spector and Mike Ross on the case

  15. Ivan says:

    Anywhere but Qatar at this point. Disgusting.

    And as to FIFA, I hope there’s a breakaway/alternative to this monstrosity, the most corrupt organization in the history of mankind.

    Blatter, Satan’s waiting for you down there in Hell…

  16. Good Jeremy says:

    BREAKING: Water wet.

  17. CH says:

    As a resident of DC i just wanna say if this was done in the US it would be considered “lobbying”. But i do think Qatar should lose it because of the human rights issues and i also want the WC in the summer.

    • DCUPedro says:

      As another resident of DC, I just want to say you’re wrong. Lobbying does not involve stashing hundreds of thousands of dollars in slush fund money in people’s personal bank accounts. That’s called bribery in DC too — and you can get convicted of it, which people have quite recently (William Jefferson, Duke Cunningham). Lobbyists can help arrange for money to be provided to people’s campaign funds, but that is different as it is not personally enriching the congressman and that money has been ruled as protected political speech. There are also significant limitations on lobbyists providing gifts to officials — you can’t take people on the types of junkets that these ExCom guys got (and that’s even before the Jack Abramoff scandal and subsequent legislation.

      TLDR: You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • Mason says:

      As a third DC-area resident, I just want to say: I agree with DCUPedro. There is a very strong distinction between lobbying and bribery.

  18. Remy says:

    Serial briber. That is hilarious!

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  20. GJJ says:

    The Qataris won that world cup fair and square………….their hookers, bribes and champagne were better than our hookers, bribes and champagne. Same goes for Russia 2018. It’s an even playing field, we just need to step up our game. Put porn stars on the USSF payroll maybe? We need to be creative on this one. The game has changed and we are a step behind.