Qatar’s World Cup 2022 organisers have vehemently denied allegations by a British newspaper that the country bribed FIFA officials to gain the right to the tournament.
The organising committee’s statement on Sunday said that it “always upheld the highest standards of ethics and integrity in its successful bid”, after claims in the Sunday Times that a total of $5m was paid by a Qatari official to FIFA members.
The Sunday Times said a “senior FIFA insider” had provided “hundreds of millions of emails, accounts and other documents” detailing the alleged payments from Mohamed bin Hammam to football officials.
Bin Hammam was a member of FIFA’s executive committee for 16 years until he was expelled in 2012 for financial corruption during his time as the president of the Asian Football Confederation.
Qatar’s committee said that Bin Hammam “played no official or unofficial role in the bid committee”.
Michael Garcia, the FIFA ethics prosecutor who is investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests, was due to meet Qatari officials on Monday in Oman to discuss the bid.
“We are cooperating fully with Mr Garcia’s ongoing investigation and remain totally confident that any objective inquiry will conclude we won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup fairly,” the Qatari statement said.
FIFA declined the AP news agency’s request for comment on Sunday, referring all inquiries to Garcia’s law firm in New York.
Garcia and his investigating team have been travelling across the world meeting officials who worked for the nine candidates ahead of the December 2010 votes. Russia won the rights to the 2018 tournament.