Report by The Guardian chief sports correspondent, Owen Gibson
World football’s governing body is likely to face renewed pressure over the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, following publication by the Daily Telegraph of claims of new evidence of payments from a Qatari former Fifa vice-president to one of his fellow board members.
The controversial Trinidadian former Fifa executive committee member Jack Warner received $1.2m (£720,000) from a company controlled by former Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam in December 2010, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper also alleged that a note from one of Warner’s companies, Jamad, to Bin Hammam’s firm, Kemco, requested $1.2m in payment for work carried out between 2005 and 2010.
It was also claimed that Warner’s two sons and an employee were paid a further $1m by the same Qatari company.
One document referred to in the article was said to have stated that payments were to “offset legal and other expenses”, but a separate letter claimed that more than $1m covered “professional services provided over the period 2005-2010”.
The payment was allegedly requested a fortnight after Fifa’s 22-man executive committee voted to award the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
Last March it emerged that the FBI was investigating a series of corruption claims surrounding world football’s governing body and that Warner’s Miami-based son, Daryan, had agreed to be a co-operating witness.
According to the allegations in the Telegraph, payments totalling at least $750,000 were made to Warner’s sons and a further $400,000 was paid to one of his employees.
Bin Hammam was the most senior Qatari football official inside Fifa at the time of the flawed bidding race to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.
He was later banned from football for life after evidence emerged that he had bribed senior officials at the Caribbean Football Union at the height of a bitter battle for the presidency with the incumbent, Sepp Blatter. That ban was annulled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), but he was later banned again over “conflicts of interest” while president of the Asian Football Confederation.
On Monday night, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy attempted to distance itself from corruption allegations relating to Bin Hammam, whose lifetime football ban was reiterated by Fifa in December 2012.
It said: “The 2022 Bid Committee strictly adhered to Fifa’s bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics.
“The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 Bid Committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals.”
The Qatar 2022 organising committee has repeatedly denied any involvement in corruption during the chaotic and ill-defined World Cup bidding race, and sought to distance itself from Bin Hammam.
More than half of the 22 men who voted to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar are no longer members of the executive committee. Several have been implicated in corruption allegations.
Warner was later found by a detailed Concacaf investigation to have committed fraud and misappropriated football money.
Warner, who claimed the Concacaf report was “baseless and malicious”, resigned from football for life in June 2012, a move that Fifa said put him beyond its jurisdiction.
For most of his 28 years as a member of the Fifa executive committee, Warner was surrounded by controversy.
In 2006, he was accused of selling World Cup tickets for three times their value and in 2010 a BBC Panorama programme alleged that he was involved in re-selling tickets for the 2010 tournament.
In 2011, he was claimed to have urged members of the CFU to accept “gifts” of $40,000 in cash from Bin Hammam and vote for him in the upcoming presidential election.
Bin Hammam was found by the court of arbitration for sport to “more likely than not” have brought cash to two meetings in May 2011 which was then handed to Fifa delegates. He has denied wrongdoing.
Controversy has continued to surround the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a country in which temperatures regularly top 40C during the summer months.
In addition to the ongoing debate about whether the tournament should be moved to the winter in order to avoid health risks for players, in-depth reports from human rights organisations and the Guardian have raised serious questions over the rights of migrant workers in the country.
More than 380 Nepalese workers and more than 500 Indian migrants have died in Qatar in the past two years, amid an unprecedented construction boom to prepare the country for the tournament and position it for the future.
Blatter, who has strongly hinted he will stand for re-election in April next year, and the Fifa executive committee will meet later this week with the Qatar World Cup again expected to be high on the agenda.