Retraction of whistleblower’s claims that Qatar bid team paid bribes to land the 2022 World Cup will not satisfy everyone, but what is being forgotten is that the Gulf state had the best bid.
|Al Majid apologised for ‘hurt’ caused to former employers including bid CEO Hassan Al Thawadi pictured [GALLO/GETTY]|
An official who alleged that Qatar paid bribes to three FIFA members to secure the World Cup in 2022 has retracted her claims, saying they were “lies”.
Phaedra Al Majid, who worked as a press officer for Qatar 2022, said she wanted to get back at her employers after losing her job on the campaign, but now had decided to go public to admit that the allegations had been fabricated.
Al Majid has signed a legal affadavit retracting the allegations and insisted that she had not been put under any pressure by the Qataris to make her public denial.
Her full statement can be seen here.
“I was very upset after I left the bid and wanted to basically hurt the bid back,” she said.
“My intentions were to make a few headlines, I never expected that my lies would be carried on. It just went too far. I never expected it to come to this point.
“There was never anything suspicious or any wrongdoing on Qatar’s part.
“I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I have hurt reputations of three members of the Fifa executive committee , I have hurt their reputation, and more importantly I have hurt my colleagues on the Qatar bid.”
Al Majid originally said African Football Confederation president Issa Hayatou, Ivory Coast FIFA member Jacques Anomua and Nigeria’s suspended official Amos Adamu were paid to vote for Qatar.
The allegations were denied by all three men but were made public under parliamentary privilege in the United Kingdom when the Sunday Times submitted evidence from their investigation into FIFA in May.
Al Majid was interviewed by the BBC and British press – which has been the most outspoken over Qatar’s hosting of the tournament – after being put in touch with her by Qatar bid officials.