Mohamed Bin Hammam, the FIFA presidential candidate who secured the 2022 World Cup for Qatar, today denied claims the country paid bribes for votes.
Two FIFA executive members were yesterday accused in the British Parliament of being paid US$1.5m to vote for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.
Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation who is from Qatar, today insisted that was not the case – and demanded proof of the allegations.
Bin Hammam said: “I can assure you nothing like this has happened from our side.
“If someone wants to damage reputations like this then they have to provide the proof. You can’t just accuse people just like that.
“It didn’t happen. It is fine to say something, to try to damage the reputation of somebody but where is the proof?”
Bin Hammam is standing against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency on June 1 and said his plans for an expanded executive committee – 43 members rather than 24 – and an independent ’transparency committee’ to oversee FIFA would restore confidence in the world governing body.
FIFA executive committee (ExCo) members Issa Hayatou from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast were alleged by the Sunday Times’ submission to Parliament’s culture, media and sport committee to have been paid 1.5million US dollars to vote for Qatar.
Former Football Association and England 2018 World Cup bid chairman Lord Triesman also alleged there had been “improper and unethical” behaviour by four other ExCo members including asking for money and a knighthood when he was lobbying for England’s World Cup bid.
Sports minister Hugh Robertson today called on FIFA to implement a wholesale reform of their World Cup bidding process.
Robertson said that the FA breaking away from FIFA was “not on the agenda” but that drastic change was needed at the sport’s world governing body.
Robertson told Press Association Sport: “Leaving FIFA is not on the agenda but all the effort at Government level is on trying to get reform at FIFA.
“FIFA need to have a look at what the International Olympic Committee did after the Salt Lake City scandal and the reforms they made.”
Meanwhile, FIFA vice-president Jack Warner said he “laughed like hell” at Triesman’s claims that he asked for money to build an education centre in Trinidad at an estimated cost of £2.5million.
Warner told Trinidad newspaper Newsday: “First of all, I laugh like hell because it took those guys from December to now [to say] that I have £2.5million I believe. I never asked anybody for anything.
“When these guys came here, we promised to help. I showed them a place where they can put a playground. They promised to come back but they never did. That’s all.
“What is painful is that the FA spent £19million in a bid, 24 persons in the FIFA, one is from England, seven of whom from Europe. If the other 16 persons were bad, how come the only vote they got is the Englishman’s vote? How come not even one person from Europe voted for them?
“And they’re looking for all different reasons. Why don’t they, in a dispassionate way, sit down and ask why not one European voted for them?”
Triesman claimed Warner also asked for £500,000 to buy Haiti World Cup TV rights for the earthquake-hit nation; that Thailand’s FIFA member Worawi Makudi wanted to be given the TV rights to a friendly between England and the Thai national team; that Paraguay’s FIFA member Nicolas Leoz asked for a knighthood while Brazil’s FIFA member Ricardo Terra Teixeira asked Triesman to “come and tell me what you have got for me”.
With two other FIFA members, Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti, banned by the body’s ethics committee last year, it means eight FIFA ExCo members – one third of the total of 24 – have either been alleged to have been or already found guilty of impropriety in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
Adamu was also named in evidence provided by the Sunday Times to the committee as having been bribed by Qatar, but his suspension prevented him from voting.