Author Topic: The FIFA Files - Plot to buy the World Cup: Download The Docs  (Read 8459 times)

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Offline mayya

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More than $5m was paid to senior football officials to create support for Qatar’s 2022 bid (Getty)

The Qatari vice-president of Fifa, the governing body of world football, used secret slush funds to make dozens of payments totalling more than $5m to senior football officials to create a groundswell of support for Qatar’s plan to take world football by storm.

This weekend and over the coming weeks this newspaper will expose how Bin Hammam exploited his position at the heart of world football to help to secure from the key members of Fifa’s 24-man ruling committee the votes that Qatar needed to win.

The files, compiled by analysing an electronic database of hundreds of millions of emails, accounts and other documents, unlock the mystery of how a tiny desert state with no football infrastructure won the right to host the world’s biggest sporting tournament. This week they reveal how Bin Hammam:

  • Used 10 slush funds controlled by his private company and cash handouts to make dozens of payments of up to $200,000 into accounts controlled by the presidents of 30 African football associations who held sway over how the continent’s four executive (Exco) members would vote

  • Hosted a series of lavish junkets for football presidents across Africa at which he handed out almost $400,000 in cash and met delegates privately to offer further payments while pushing for their support for the Qatar bid

  • Paid out at least €305,000 in legal and private detective fees for Reynald Temarii, the disgraced Oceania Exco member, after he was suspended for telling undercover reporters that he had been offered $12m for his vote. Temarii refused to resign as an Exco member, thus preventing his planned replacement from voting for Qatar’s rival Australia in 2022 and England in 2018

  • Funnelled more than $1.6m directly into bank accounts controlled by Jack Warner, the Exco member for Trinidad and Tobago, including $450,000 before the vote

  • Used his position in charge of Fifa’s Goal Programme funds to channel $800,000 to the Ivory Coast FA, whose Exco member Jacques Anouma agreed to “push very hard the bid of Qatar”. He also signed off two payments of $400,000 each to the federations of two other voters

  • Hosted Issa Hayatou, the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), on a lavish junket in Doha at which delegates were lobbied over the 2022 bid. A month later the Qatar bid committee announced an exclusive $1m deal to sponsor CAF’s annual congress in Angola, preventing rival countries including Australia from lobbying key figures from the continent.

This weekend football chiefs, politicians and anti-corruption experts called for the competition for the 2022 World Cup to be rerun. Alexandra Wrage, a former member of Fifa’s independent governance committee, said the evidence was a “smoking gun”.

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture committee, said: “There is now an overwhelming case that the decision as to where the World Cup should be held in 2022 should be run again.”

The disclosures come as the Qatar 2022 bid committee is facing a showdown with Fifa’s top investigator, Michael Garcia, in Oman. Sources say Garcia will interview the Qatar bid committee face to face for the
first time during his two-year investigation into alleged corruption in the bidding contests for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

It is understood Garcia has no plans to interview Bin Hammam because the official Qatar bid committee has always insisted he is an “entirely separate” individual who had nothing to do with the campaign to bring
the World Cup to Doha.

The bid committee was quick to disown Bin Hammam publicly when he was banned from world football in 2011 after being caught bribing voters in his attempt to be elected Fifa president.

However, the leaked documents show close contact with the leaders of the Qatar bid, arranging a lavish junket paid for by the 2022 team at which he offered football officials large payments in exchange for their support.

Fifa’s rules ban bid committees, or any of their associates, from “providing to Fifa or any representative of Fifa ... any monetary gifts [or] any kind of personal advantage that could give even the impression
of exerting influence, or conflict of interest, either directly or indirectly, in connection with the bidding process ... and any benefit, opportunity, promise, remuneration or service to any such individuals,
in connection with the bidding process”.

The revelations threaten to engulf Fifa as it prepares to gather for ist annual congress in Brazil on June 10 ahead of the World Cup.

Facing pressure to rerun the bid, Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, admitted last month that it had been a “mistake” to hand the tournament to Qatar after Fifa’s technical assessors had said a Doha World Cup
would be “high risk” because the searing desert temperatures of up to 50C could be harmful to the players.

The files show Bin Hammam sought to secure support from the African voters, lobbying them on junkets at which he showered them with gifts, lucrative benefits, private jet travel and extraordinary hospitality.

Emails, faxes, accounts and dozens of bank transfer slips show he bought support across the continent by handing out hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash to African football officials and
making payments directly into their personal bank accounts. The Money was paid from a series of slush funds controlled by his Kemco construction company, including his own and his daughter’s bank accounts.

Buying support across Africa was central to Bin Hammam’s strategy because the members of CAF exerted collective influence over how ist block of four Exco members should vote. Several of the officials he paid
held seats on CAF’s ruling executive committee and another nine currently sit on standing committees of the Fifa executive.

The files reveal that Bin Hammam hosted three of the key African voters and 35 other football officials on a junket in Doha in December 2009 which was bankrolled by the Qatar bid.

Email correspondence with some of the football officials afterwards reveals that he lobbied them to support the World Cup bid in Exchange for large payments.

John Muinjo, president of the Namibian FA, emailed Bin Hammam promising that his federation “will always be behind you in its unequivocal support at all times”and adding that “we would want to be assisted with
a once off financial assistance to the tune of U$50,000” to build football pitches.

Bin Hammam responded personally, pledging that it would be “delivered as soon as possible”. Last week Muinjo said the money had never reached his account.

The key Exco voter, Anouma, promised his support in correspondence with his Qatari colleague after a stay in Doha the same month.

He instructed his secretary-general at the Ivory Coast FA to write to Bin Hammam on his behalf promising to “push very hard the bid of Qatar” and later sent an email himself expressing “thanks and gratitude” for
the hospitality he and his wife had received.

He went on: “I would like to assure you of my desire to ensure that the discussions we had together during this stay translate into concrete action. I would ask you to convey to His Highness the Emir of Qatar my
sincere thanks and expression of my deep respect.”

David Fani, president of the Botswana FA, also emailed Bin Hammam after the trip to Doha to say how impressed he had been by Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 bid.

“I have no doubt that your country will be ready for the 2022 Fifa World Cup and, even without a vote, I pledge my support to you in this respect. If there is anything that I can do, no matter how small, to
assist your course, I would be happy to oblige,” he wrote.

“I will write to you in the new year concerning assistance to Botswana Football Association as per our discussion of 21 December 2009.”

The files also show Bin Hammam used his wealth to block a vote that would have gone to Australia, Qatar’s rival for the 2022 World Cup, and England in the 2018 contest.

The opportunity was presented to him just two days before the vote when Temarii had decided to step down as an Exco member. Temarii had been suspended over remarks made to a Sunday Times undercover reporter and
was under pressure to stand aside so that his colleague from the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) could take his place and vote. However, the documents suggest there was a secret 11th-hour intervention by Bin
Hammam. On the same day Temarii changed his mind and put out a Statement saying that he was going to appeal his suspension.

This meant that OFC was disenfranchised — much to the anger of the Australian bid members who were expecting to receive the vote of Temarii’s planned replacement as Oceania’s Exco member. England lost out
too as Temarii’s would-be replacement was thought to favour its bid. It was one less vote for Qatar’s opponents in the 2022 contest.

Bin Hammam’s role in the affair is now likely to be investigated as emails seen by The Sunday Times show he paid for Temarii to continue his appeal.

In the following months two Bin Hammam slush funds paid €200,000 and €105,000 in legal and detective fees on behalf of Temarii. The revelation will raise questions about the integrity of the voting
process and how far it was compromised in favour of Qatar by Bin Hammam’s cash.

Other suspicious payments to voters include two payments totalling $450,000 to Warner in the two years before the vote. Correspondence in the month after Qatar won the vote also shows Warner referred to Bin
Hammam as “the only brother I have in football” and went on to send his bank details.

The email trail and bank documents also reveal the true story of a further $1.2m payment from Bin Hammam to Warner almost eight months after the bid when the two men had been suspended by Fifa for paying
bribes to voters in Bin Hammam’s campaign to unseat Blatter as the president of Fifa.

Bin Hammam declined to respond to correspondence and calls last week. His son emailed The Sunday Times to say that he and the family would not comment.

Last night members of the Qatar bid committee denied any link to Bin Hammam and said he had played no secret role in their campaign. They said they had no knowledge of any payments he had made and they had no
involvement in any improper conduct.

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