Qatar did buy the right to host the 2022 World Cup, a damning leaked e-mail claimed today.
Banned Fifa vice-president Jack Warner leaked an e-mail which claimed Mohamed Bin Hammam did a deal so that the Gulf state could host the tournament.
The revelations will lead to fresh calls for the 2022 vote to be re-run following the new corruption allegations.
Questions have long been asked how such a small country where temperatures hit 50C could win the right to host the tournament.
Yesterday Fifa president Sepp Blatter was cleared over bribery accusations as Warner and Bin Hammam were suspended.
The e-mail was sent by Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke – who today confirmed that the contents were genuine.
Valcke, according to a statement from Jack Warner statement, sent an email to him about Mohamed Bin Hammam ‘buying’ the 2022 World Cup for his country.
Bin Hammam was then standing against Sepp Blatter for president.
According to Warner, the email read: ‘For MBH, I never understood why he was running.
‘If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB. Or he thought you can buy Fifa as they bought the WC.’
Valcke, speaking in Zurich today, confirmed that he had sent the message.
He said, ‘It was a private email and we will discuss it. He sent me an email asking if I want that, 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.
He added, ‘The first time I met the chairman of the ethics committee was yesterday at 5 o’clock before we went to the press conference. I had no contact at all with anyone.’
Critics said the decision yesterday to exonerate Sepp Blatter may be seen as a ‘stitch-up’ at an organisation that was ‘rife with corruption’.
Mr Blatter, 75, the Fifa president, had been accused of turning a blind eye to senior officials offering inducements to Caribbean delegates but was cleared of all charges.
With Qatari official Mohamed Bin Hammam, 62, suspended the decision to exonerate Mr Blatter clears the way for him to be re-elected unopposed to a fourth term on Wednesday, despite the gravest corruption crisis in Fifa’s history.
Fifa’s ethics committee opened an investigation last week after Mr Bin Hammam and Mr Warner were accused of offering $50,000 in cash to officials in the Caribbean on condition they voted for Mr Bin Hammam for the top job in world soccer.
Mr Bin Hammam, in turn, claimed Mr Blatter knew of the allegations about bribes being offered and failed to report them to the ethics committee.
But Petrus Damaseb, deputy chairman of the committee, said of the allegations against Mr Blatter: ‘The committee took the view that the obligation to report did not arise because at that stage no wrongdoing had occurred.’
The committee, meeting at Fifa’s headquarters in Zurich, said it was satisfied there was a case for Mr Bin Hammam and Mr Warner to answer, but stressed they were regarded as innocent until proven guilty. If found guilty, they could be expelled from Fifa and banned from all football activity.
Chuck Blazer, the Concacaf secretary-general, said there was ‘much more evidence’ to come and claimed that the suspended duo had been attempting to bribe voters from the very beginning, The Times reported.
Early yesterday, before the decision, Mr Bin Hammam had announced his withdrawal as a candidate for the presidency.
On a day of high drama there were calls for a new vote on where the 2022 World Cup is hosted – because the Mr Bin Hamman was instrumental in securing the tournament for them.
Two other Caribbean officials were also suspended by the ethics committee. Last night Mark Palios, former head of the Football Association, said: ‘Whatever the outcome I think the image problem is there. It may appear as some kind of stitch-up.
‘He should put change at the heart of the agenda and if he is really serious about zero tolerance, if this was an organisation with accountability, and this type of thing had been happening, he would go anyway.
‘I speculate of course, but on past performance you could see him carrying on and possibly try to be seen as the man who fixed Fifa.’
John Whittingdale, Tory chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, said: ‘It is almost beyond farce. Fifa looks rotten to the core now – with one candidate suspended and the other sailing towards a coronation as if nothing had happened.
‘I don’t think we can go on any longer like this. European nations need to get together and make clear that this situation cannot continue.’
Mr Blatter will be re-elected unopposed on Wednesday unless three-quarters of the 208 voters go against him.
Meanwhile, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke said a report commissioned by the Football Association into former FA chairman Lord Triesman’s allegations of impropriety by four Fifa members, including Mr Warner, had found no meaningful evidence to back up the claims.
Lord Triesman had said the four asked for cash or favours to support England’s 2018 World Cup bid, but Mr Valcke said: ‘They are completely clean.’
Today an Australian senator has urged the federal government to ask Fifa to refund the $46million spent on their failed bid to host the 2022 tournament.
He claimed the bid could not succeed because of corruption within football’s world governing body.
by Terence Johns