01 June 2014
A disclosure by British weekly, The Sunday Times, of millions of documents allegedly revealing massive Qatari vote buying in the Gulf state’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup could rejigger the Gulf’s fragile balance of power, reverse hopes that Qatar would initiate significant social change in the region and return the worst corruption crisis in global soccer governance to the top of the agenda.
The documents appear to show how disgraced former FIFA vice president and Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam, a Qatari national, used a secret $5 million slush fund to make dozens of payments, primarily to African soccer executives, to create the basis for a vote in favour of Qatar in FIFA’s executive committee. The committee awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in a controversial vote in December 2010.
The disclosure comes as Michael Garcia, FIFA’s independent investigator into the corruption allegations, was scheduled to meet members of Qatar’s bid committee. FIFA officials suggested prior to the disclosure that Mr. Garcia’s two-year long investigation was unlikely to produce a smoking gun.
… James M. Dorsey is a Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. He is also co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
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