Qatar hits back over Valcke email

Fallout from corruption investigation at FIFA sees Qatar 2022 take legal advice over email sent by general secretary.

    Warner, right, responded to his suspension by making allegations against Hammam and Blatter [Reuters]

    FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Monday that an email he sent to FIFA vice-president Jack Warner suggesting the Qatar 2022 World Cup was "bought" was genuine.

    The email was made public by an angry Warner soon after he was banned from all football related activity by FIFA's Ethics Committee on Sunday.

    The exchange between Warner and Valcke involved discussions about Mohamed Bin Hammam of Qatar, who at that point was standing for FIFA president against Sepp Blatter.

    "For MBH (Hammam), I never understood why he was running," Warner quoted the email from Valcke as saying.

    "If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB (Blatter).

    "Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC (World Cup)."

    Fresh allegations

    Qatar on Monday hit back at the fresh allegations of foul play in its bid to stage the tournament.

    "Qatar 2022 categorically deny any wrong-doing in connection with their winning bid," a statement released by a spokesman said.

    "We are urgently seeking clarification from FIFA about the statement from their general secretary.

    Hammam, right, pulled out of his presidential contest with Blatter, left [GALLO/GETTY]

    "In the meantime we are taking legal advice to consider our options."

    Hammam told the BBC: "You would have to ask Jerome Valcke what he was thinking. I don't know why he has said that.

    "If I was paying money from Qatar you would also have to ask the 13 people who voted for Qatar."

    Asked if the allegation was true he said: "What do you think?"

    Valcke had earlier told reporters in Zurich: "It was a private email and we will discuss it. He sent me an email asking if I want that (Bin Hammam to run), he said that I should ask Bin Hammam to pull out."

    Valcke said Warner had only published selected parts of the email, and he denied claims by Warner and Bin Hammam that he had influenced the ethics committee against them.

    Bin Hammam earlier on Monday denounced his suspension by FIFA.

    After a weekend of high drama at the tainted football body, Bin Hammam accused FIFA of briefing media against him, while vice president Warner said Blatter gave one regional grouping $1 million with no questions asked.

    The latest claims follow Sunday's extraordinary events when Bin Hammam sensationally withdrew from his FIFA presidential race against Blatter, and just hours later was barred from football activities pending a graft probe.

    Hammam appeal

    He said on Monday that he was filing an appeal to revoke the ban before the FIFA congress began on Wednesday.

    "The way these proceedings have been conducted is absolutely not compliant with any principles of justice. I am punished before I am found guilty,” he said in a statement.

    "I get the impression that the outcome of these proceedings had been defined from the very beginning as it has been made evident at the press conference on Sunday evening at which FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke showed his bias very clearly."

    Meanwhile Warner, who was also suspended over claims against both men about alleged vote-buying before Wednesday's poll, unleashed what he called a "football tsunami" aimed at Blatter and FIFA general secretary Valcke.

    In his most serious claim, Warner accused Blatter of giving the North, Central American and Caribbean federations (CONCACAF) "a gift of one million USD... to spend as it deems fit" this month.

    He added that Valcke said he would "find the money for Mr. Blatter" even though the payment was not authorised by FIFA's finance committee, and claimed Blatter gave the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) "gifts of laptops and projectors" on May 10.

    Warner's allegations are the latest in a spiral of claims whirling around senior FIFA figures, prompting widespread calls for deep reforms at the body which heads the world's most popular sport.

    But despite the farcical events of recent days Blatter, who has helmed FIFA since 1998, looks certain to be re-elected unopposed for a fourth term as president on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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