FIFA bribe allegations raise more questions over Qatar World Cup
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the only major scheduled football event left unchanged after this year’s calendar was wrecked by the coronavirus, has become the focus of fresh FIFA corruption allegations after the release of a new U.S. Department of Justice indictment.
Suspicion and rumours have long surrounded the 2010 vote by FIFA’s executive to hand the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. But on Monday, for the first time, prosecutors set direct, formal allegations down in print.
According to the prosecutors, representatives working for Russia and Qatar bribed FIFA executive committee officials to swing votes in the crucial decision of world football’s governing body.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The allegations made by the Department of Justice are that then FIFA vice-president Jack Warner was paid $5 million through various shell companies to vote for Russia to host the 2018 World Cup.
Warner has been accused of a number of crimes in the long-running U.S probe, and he is fighting extradition from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago. Warner, who was not immediately reachable for comment, has always denied any wrongdoing.
The indictment also states that the three South American members of FIFA’s 2010 executive - Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira, the late Nicolás Leoz of Paraguay and an unnamed co-conspirator - took bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament.