FIFA to Investigate Qatar Bribery Allegations with Whistleblower
May 20, 2011
Sepp Blatter has confirmed that FIFA will interview the whistleblower who claims US$1.5m bribes were paid to two members of world soccer’s governing body’s Executive Committee by the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid.
Blatter declined to rule out re-running the vote for the 2022 tournament, following the astonishing bid bribery allegations made during a UK parliamentary inquiry into soccer governance last week.
“We have organised and the newspaper (The Sunday Times) have agreed we will bring this whistleblower to Zurich and then we will have a discussion, an investigation,” Blatter was quoted by Reuters on Thursday.
He added: “I haven’t identified the general whistleblower, for the time being, we have no name – if it is man, or woman.
“It will be the relevant authorities, in FIFA which handles such cases, the secretary general [Jerome Valcke].”
Several independent sources claim that the whistleblower is a former media officer with the Qatar bid. Amadou Diallo, a close friend to Blatter’s presidential challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam, was accused in written evidence of facilitating the Qatar bribes to Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma.
Both Ex-Co members have vigorously denied the allegations as has the Qatar Football Association. The Sunday Times corruption evidence was based on a covert conversation with former FIFA secretary general, Michel Zen-Ruffinen, who told undercover reporters that Diallo worked for Qatar “to arrange financial deals with African members in exchange for World Cup votes”.
If the allegations of bribery against Hayatou and Anouma are proven, Blatter raised the prospect of a revote on the 2022 World Cup host. Under this scenario, the other 2022 candidates – USA, Japan, South Korea and Australia – could yet win hosting rights.
Blatter was quoted by Press Association Sport, saying: “This is an idea circulating already around the world which is alarming. Don’t ask me yes or no, let us go step by step.”
It was revealed last week that Diallo was a longstanding FIFA employee, working from around 1999 to 2007, “paid by FIFA on a Goal Bureau chairman budget with the task of monitoring Goal projects”.