Hayatou Claims Qatar Pay-Off is ‘Pure Invention’ by Times

May 12, 2011

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and Confederation of African Football (CAF) chief Issa Hayatou yesterday, May 11, denied corruption allegations made against him by a British Parliamentary Committee.

Hayatou claimed allegations that he was paid for vote for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid were “pure invention” and reserved the right to sue “those propagating this campaign of denigration,” according to a statement on the CAF website.

The statement revealed that Hayatou would cooperate with any investigation by FIFA which wants a swift resolution to the latest spate of corruption claims involving six of its Executive Committee.

According to evidence submitted by newspaper the Sunday Times to a UK parliamentary inquiry this week, Hayatou and fellow FIFA Executive Committee member Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were allegedly paid US$1.5m to vote for Qatar.

The CAF stated: “The President of the Confederation of African Football Issa Hayatou has categorically denied allegations of corruption brought against him before Parliament in Britain.

“This kind of reporting to create and propagate false information to destroy his reputation, leadership and integrity will not succeed.

“The President of CAF said all these accusations brought against him are pure invention and an attempt to discredit him.”

The statement added that Hayatou was “anxiously waiting for the so-called proof” from paper, with Qatar having beaten the United States by a landslide in the final round of voting for the right to host the 2022 tournament, the biggest ever upset in bidding history and the first World Cup to be staged in the Middle East.

Qatar’s Football Association has also denied the allegations that Hayatou and Anouma were paid money, calling them “serious and baseless”, claiming they would “remain unproven because they are false.”

The Parliamentary Committee identified a man working for Hayatou and the Qataris as Amadou Diallo, though Mike Lee, the former communications director of London 2012 who helped mastermind Qatar’s victory, told the Committee he had never heard of Diallo.

There have nevertheless been strong links between African soccer’s heirarchy and Qatar for some time after Qatar used a clever but perfectly legal marketing loophole last year, to exclusively sponsor the CAF Congress, paying $1.8m for the right, preventing any of its rivals for 2022 from officially addressing delegates.

The CAF statement added: “In return, [the] Qatar 2022 Bid Committee was given the exclusive rights to address the general assembly and make presentations to members. 

“This sponsorship was approved by the Executive Committee of CAF…an agreement was signed between the two parties.”