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Qatar corruption allegations

June 8, 2014

Fresh allegations of corruption have emerged surrounding Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. This comes less than a week before the 2014 World Cup is to kick off in Brazil.

Fußball FIFA Mohamed Bin Hammam Sepp Blatter
Image: picture alliance/dpa

The report published in Britain's Sunday Times reveals new details suggesting that Qatari former top level football executive Mohamed Bin Hammam used his weath and high-level contacts to buy support for his country's World Cup bid.

In last week's edition, the Sunday paper cited what it said were millions of documents it had obtained, including emails, and bank transfers, showing that Hammam (pictured left beside FIFA President Sepp Blatter) had paid a total of $5 million (3.7 million euros) to senior football administrators to persuade them to support Qatar's bid.

According to this Sunday's story, which the paper said was based on the same information it had used for last week's article, Hammam used his contacts to arrange talks on a bilateral gas deal that would have been "potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to Thailand." This is alleged to have happened during a visit to Doha by the president of the Football Association of Thailand, Worawi Makudi.

"The exact nature of the deal on the table is unclear, but it came as Thailand sought to save tens of millions of pounds by renegotiating an arrangement with Qatar to purchase 1 million tons of liquefied natural gas each year at a contractual price it considered too high," the article said.

According to the report, Makudi has denied that he received a personal "concession" from the deal.

Meeting with Putin

The report also claims it has documents showing that Hamman was invited to meet with then-Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2010 to discuss "bilateral relations in sport" just weeks before the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar.

Bin Hammam, a former FIFA vice president, resigned in 2012, shortly before the world governing body's ethics committee banned him for life from holding any posts in football administration.

The organization that put together the successful bid, The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, has denied any wrongdoing, saying Hammam had "played no official or unofficial role" in the committee.

The choice of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup has been controversial from the start, in part due to concerns about the safety of players and supporters in the high temperatures the region experiences in the summer months.

The 2014 World Cup is set to begin in Brazil on Thursday.

pfd/tj (SID, AP, AFP)

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