Qatar Fires Back: Accusations work of ‘an embittered ex-employee’


Qatar 2022 World Cup officials have termed the allegations that they paid bribes to win the World Cup 2022 “distressing, insulting and incomprehensible”, as well as “completely false” and “based on worthless evidence” in a statement of 1672 words.

Bin Hammam is trying to unseat Sepp Blatter

Earlier this month, members of the UK parliament published evidence from the Sunday Times newspaper claiming two African officials Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma accepted $1.5m in inducements offered by Qatar.

That evidence was presented to the Culture, Media and Sport  (CMS) Select Committee of the House of Commons, the lower and only elected chamber.

(UK Parliament hears allegations of Qatari bribery )

Qatari officials criticised the Sunday Times’ journalists method of gathering the evidence, claiming they had posed as corrupt representatives from the United States bid.

They also said the Times has failed to provide details of the bribes.

The statement also said:

“The publication of the memorandum on the website of the CMS Select Committee has caused enormous and wholly unjustified potential damage to the bid committee and the individuals on it.

The aim of the bid committee has always been to show that the Middle East is a realistic option for staging the World Cup and it has worked extremely hard to bring the tournament to the Middle East for the first time.

To have this achievement tarnished by completely unsubstantiated and false allegations and for those allegations to be propounded by the Parliament of the United Kingdom is something we find distressing, insulting and incomprehensible.

What the memorandum does not state is that the reporters were posing as corrupt representatives of the United States bid and ostensibly soliciting further corruption from those with whom they were speaking, in return for substantial payments.”

A whistle-blower, who provided the paper with information, was probably an “embittered ex-employee” who had “a significant axe to grind”, the statement said while providing no evidence to back the assertion up. Given they would have a list of Qatari bid committee’s ex-employees, some more detail could have been expected.

Current FIFA President Sepp Blatter has invited the said whistle-blower to testify to FIFA’s own investigation in Switzerland.

Continuing with the assertion that the accusations were the work of an ex-employee, the Qatari bid committee statement continued:

“We are mystified as to why anyone formerly in the bid committee’s employ would now seem intent on fabricating stories and would seriously question what his or her motivations are. We would caution anyone against placing reliance on uncorroborated statements made by an embittered ex-employee.”

Furthermore the Qataris claim that former FIFA Secretary General Michel Zen Ruffinen had retracted claims that he could identify people who could be bribed. They wondered, given this retraction, why his allegation remained in the report.

“The memorandum fails to state that Mr Zen Ruffinen immediately retracted those allegations both in a letter to the Bid Committee and a letter to The Sunday Times.

We find these omissions to be astonishing and a matter of the greatest concern. As a consequence of the omissions, the memorandum did not place the information before the CMS Select Committee in a fair and balanced way.

It appears that many of these individuals were simply seeking to impress the supposed US representatives and persuade them that it would be worth their while engaging them.

Evidently, in such circumstances very little reliability can be attached to the words of such individuals.”

The statement also suggested the allegations were part of a long-running campaign to discredit their bid; a campaign which failed to prevent Qatar winning the vote.

“What is concerning and unfair is that there appear to be those who are unable to accept that a team from a country like Qatar could perform in this way and are ready – on the basis of no evidence – to assume the worst,” the bid committee wrote.

The Qataris hit back after Blatter refused to rule out overturning the award of the cup to Qatar, if the allegations were proven true.

Qatar World Cup Vote Could be Overturned

Here is where the whole matter raises even further cynicism.

Sepp Blatter had always been at the vanguard of those who claimed there was no corruption in FIFA.

He is also about to face re-election. His only challenger is Mohammad Bin Hammam who not only comes from Qatar, but was instrumental in lobbying for his own nation’s bid.

There are those who would like to see the decision to take the 2022 Cup to Qatar overturned, most notably, although not solely, those from the the countries defeated by the Qatari bid, Australia, USA, Japan and Korea.

The award to Qatar is unlikely to receive as closes scrutiny under Bin Hammam and Blatter’s direct appeal seems to now be that he offers those who want the tournament moved some hope.

Blatter’s strategy is cunning.

Qatar is a member of the Asian Federation, and normally Bin Hammam would expect the votes of other Asian Football Associations. However, many of the nations who lost out to Qatar are also from Asia, and they may be persuaded to vote for Blatter, if only to reopen the debate.

Meanwhile, most European associations, except England, are expected to vote for the European Blatter as are many of the Africans, grateful that he brought the World Cup to their continent.

What Sepp Blatter says before the June 1st election and what he says thereafter may be two very different things. As things stand, he is a very strong favourite to be re-elected, and there seems to be no dirt the Qatari bid committee can fling at their accusers to save Hammam’s campaign now.

Also See:

What if Qatar did bribe voters?

Hammam’s Selective Outrage May Make him Worse


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