Pressure mounts on Fifa after new Qatar World Cup claims

Fresh allegations over disgraced official Mohamed bin Hammam, as key sponsor Sony demands full investigation

Qatar's former Fifa vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam has come under fresh scrutiny over claims he used his top level contacts in the Qatari royal family and government to arrange deals and favours to secure the World Cup for his country.

The Sunday Times reported that it has seen documents that appear to undermine the Qatar 2022 committee's claims that Bin Hammam had no "official or unofficial role" in its bid.

The latest revelations have increased pressure on Fifa, football's world governing body, to take action as one of the tournament's biggest sponsors, the Japanese electronics giant Sony, called for the claims of wrongdoing during the bidding process to be "investigated appropriately".

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, has said that if the leaked documents disclose the truth there would be an "overwhelming case for the bidding process to be reopened immediately". The latest revelations include the claim that Bin Hammam brokered government-level talks through the Thai member of Fifa's executive committee (Exco) to push a gas deal that was potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to Thailand.

Another allegation is that he was invited to visit Vladimir Putin to discuss "bilateral relations" in sport between Russia and Qatar a month before the World Cup vote took place in December 2010, which resulted in their landslide victories to stage the tournament in 2018 and 2022 respectively.

They also allege that the disgraced Qatari official arranged for Michel Platini, the Uefa football chief and an Exco member, to meet the Qatari bid committee and that he arranged discreet meetings with members of the Qatari royal family for at least seven key Exco members, including the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter. Another allegation is that Bin Hammam used secret slush funds to make payments totalling $1.7m to football officials across Asia.

An Exco meeting between Blatter, Platini and others broke up on Saturday night with further refusal to comment on the Bin Hammam allegations.

Michael Garcia, Fifa's in-house investigator, last week announced that he would cut short his investigation into corruption in the World Cup bidding process ahead of Fifa's congress in São Paulo on Tuesday without reviewing the fresh evidence.

Miliband said: "Few people will have much confidence in the investigation being conducted by Fifa unless it takes full account of the evidence uncovered by the Sunday Times."

He said the Fifa files contained "startling evidence that the decision to make Qatar the host for the World Cup in 2022 may have been corrupted".

The newspaper alleges that the files "lay bare" the degree to which Bin Hammam could use his connections to get key football figures to meet the emir, the crown prince and other senior royals as part of the campaign to generate support for Qatar's bid.

It states: "The files show that Bin Hammam was fixing the meetings for members of Qatar's ruling family with football's most powerful men at the same time as using a network of secret slush funds to buy up a groundswell of support among the bosses of national football associations."

The Qatar bid committee denies any wrongdoing.


Lin Jenkins

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Qatar hits back at allegations of bribery over 2022 World Cup

Qatari organisers say leaks to UK media are intended to influence the ongoing Fifa investigation

Owen Gibson

14, Jun, 2014 @11:05 PM

Article image
Fifa faces calls to quash Qatar World Cup vote after corruption allegations

Senior football figures considering response if investigation into leaked documents leads to recommendation of revote

Owen Gibson, chief sports correspondent

02, Jun, 2014 @6:32 AM

Article image
Fans, fun, fireworks: Qatar World Cup 2022 enjoys rare normality | Sean Ingle
Matches kick off with fan zones looking like construction sites, persistent fears over how gay fans will be treated and concerns over human rights abuses

Sean Ingle in Doha

19, Nov, 2022 @7:31 PM

Article image
Qatar World Cup: 400 Nepalese die on nation's building sites since bid won

Human-rights group monitors mounting death toll on stadium building sites. And, with Nepalese only 20% of migrant workforce, calls grow for Fifa to take decisive action, writes Jamie Doward

Jamie Doward

15, Feb, 2014 @11:21 PM

Article image
Qatar World Cup: Bin Hammam 'acted like head of crime organisation'
Fall of Qatari construction magnate closely follows arc of Fifa's shattered reputation

David Conn

01, Jun, 2014 @7:10 PM

Article image
Qatar will try to hold on to the World Cup prize – but will Fifa intervene?
Allegations about Qatar's bid have raised fresh doubts about it hosting the 2022 World Cup and the future of Fifa. Our chief sports correspondent weighs up what could happen next

Owen Gibson

02, Jun, 2014 @7:35 PM

Article image
Fifa ethics head Michael Garcia won't look at new corruption allegations
Millions of files raise fresh questions over Qatari bid for the 2022 World Cup, with Garcia's report on the issue due 9 June

Owen Gibson and Nicholas Watt

02, Jun, 2014 @7:23 PM

Article image
Fifa under pressure to rerun World Cup 2022 vote after bribery claims

Australia and Japan, unsuccessful bidders for tournament, join calls for Qatar award to be overturned after press allegations

Matthew Weaver

02, Jun, 2014 @9:29 AM

Article image
Michel Platini insists Qatar bid was not mentioned in Bin Hammam meeting
Michel Platini's role comes under scrutiny amid corruption claims over Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid

Owen Gibson, chief sports correspondent

03, Jun, 2014 @6:09 PM

Article image
Fifa faces call to vote again over 2022 World Cup after leaked Qatari emails
Communications purport to show series of payments to officials by Mohamed bin Hammam, who was Fifa's member for Qatar

Mark Tran and Rowena Mason

01, Jun, 2014 @10:20 AM