Qatar flatly deny World Cup corruption claims

DOHA, May 23, 2011 (AFP) - Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup fairly and squarely and not by corrupt methods the Qatar Football Association on behalf of the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee for the FIFA World Cup ('the Bid Committee') announced on Monday.

The QFA issued a statement on behalf of the Bid Committee in which they answered in great detail the allegations of corruption by the bid team made in a memorandum put together by two reporters at The Sunday Times newspaper.

Qatar to general surprise won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in a vote by the FIFA Executive Board in Zurich in early December beating off rivals such as the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan.

AFP - Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan (R) holds a complimentary FIFA banner presented by FIFA President, Joseph Blatter (L) prior to their talks at Kan's official residence in Tokyo on 23 May, 2011. Japan is seeking to reassure Blatter that it is a safe venue for hosting world football as the FIFA president visits in the wake of a tsunami

The Memorandum had been passed to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (the CMS Select Committee) of the British House of Commons earlier this month.

However, the QFA while welcoming an investigation of the bid - but by a recognised body - dismissed all allegations made within the memorandum stating that they were false.

Firstly they say that the claims of bribes being made is not backed up by eye witness accounts.

"The Memorandum does not contain or refer to any first hand evidence of any bribes being paid or any impropriety on the part of the Bid Committee," read the statement.

"All the allegations are hearsay and supposition. In addition, the allegations are wholly unsupported by any documentary material whatsoever."

The QFA state that the seriousness of the bribe allegations are not supported by the evidence provided in the memorandum.

"These individuals make serious allegations against the Bid Committee but fail to give any substantiation of the allegations," read the statement.

"For example, they do not state when the alleged bribes were to be paid, how the negotiations with the individuals concerned had been conducted or crucially how they came to know of the alleged bribes.

"On any proper view, their evidence is worthless."

The QFA also ridicules the view expressed in the memorandum that the individuals - including apparently an unanmed whistleblower from within the bid - were not acting out of self interest in making the allegations.

"The Memorandum states that in the view of the reporters the individuals 'had no reason to fabricate these allegations'" said the QFA.

"We do not agree for the reasons set out in this Statement."

The QFA also insisted that far from it being the Sunday Times reporters who alerted FIFA to the allegations of corrupt practices, it was the bid committee itself.

"The Memorandum states that the reporters provided the material they have to FIFA. In fact, the Bid Committee reported the allegations made by The Sunday Times to FIFA itself and encouraged them to investigate.

"FIFA did so and their conclusion was completely to exonerate the Bid Committee."

The Bid Committee claimed it was willing to be put under the microscope in an open investigation but not one that is carried out without their version of events being taken into account.

"The Bid Committee welcomes a thorough investigation into the allegations made against it.

"However, such an investigation must surely only be carried out by a properly constituted body with due authority and independence where our side of the story can be heard.

"It is wholly inappropriate for any examination of the Bid Committee's affairs to be based on unsubstantiated hearsay and inaccurate journalism."

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