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.
|Qatar won the right to host World Cup 2022 in a FIFA vote in December last year [GALLO/GETTY]|
World governing body FIFA said they would continue “not to comment on allegations” after receiving a retraction of claims by the Qatar 2022 World Cup ‘whistleblower’.
Former Qatar bid communications official Phaedra Al Majid alleged that Qatar paid bribes to three FIFA members to secure the World Cup.
Al Majid said on Sunday she wanted to avenge losing her job on the campaign, but had now 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.
“FIFA can confirm receipt of an email from a person claiming to have made allegations related to the Qatar 2022 bid process and now retracting these allegations,” the world governing body said on Monday.
“FIFA has no specific comments on this.”
The body, whose president Sepp Blatter was re-elected unopposed last month, added: “In a consistent and correct way, we have repeatedly said that FIFA would not be making any comments on allegations. This policy will continue…we have repeatedly said that FIFA can only act upon evidence.
“When only allegations are made and no evidence is given, FIFA always stands firmly by its members.”
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.
The BBC, whose programme on the 2022 tournament will be aired on Monday, said their staff only interviewed Al Majid after being put in touch with her by Qatar bid officials.
A Guardian newspaper reporter was also in Doha to interview the bid team.
“I was very upset after I left the bid and wanted to basically hurt the bid back,” Al Majid 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.”