Ex-Fifa Official Accused Over $5m Qatar Bribe

There are claims secret payments were made to help the desert state win the bid for the 2022 World Cup.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad al Thani, chairman of the Qatar 2022 bid committee submits the official bid book for the 2022 Soccer World Cup to FIFA President Blatter in Zurich 

Former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind has told Sky's Murnaghan programme that if the corruption allegations surrounding Qatar's World Cup bid are true it throws the country's hosting of the tournament into doubt.

A former senior Fifa official allegedly paid $5m (£2.98m) in bribes to secure support for Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid.

The Sunday Times has claimed Mohamed Bin Hammam, an ex-Fifa executive member for Qatar, made "dozens" of payments to top football bosses.

Mr Bin Hammam used 10 slush funds to pay cash to football officials in order to create a "groundswell" of support for Qatar's campaign, the paper claimed.

He also allegedly hosted lavish junkets for African officials at which he handed out almost $400,000 in cash.

People celebrate after Fifa announce that Qatar will be host of the 2022 World Cup in Souq Wakif in Doha People celebrate after Qatar's successful bid was announced in 2010

It is also alleged he paid $1.6m (£950,000) into bank accounts controlled by Jack Warner, the former vice-president of Fifa, some $450,000 (£268,000) of which was paid before the vote for the World Cup.

The allegations were made after the newspaper obtained millions of emails and other documents related to the payments.

The newspaper said Mr Bin Hammam declined to respond when asked about the claims.

Members of Qatar's bid committee have also denied any links with the former Fifa official.

Mohamed Bin Hammam, the president of the AFC, receives FIFA President Blatter at Doha airport Mr Bin Hammam with Fifa president Sepp Blatter

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, told Sky News if the claims are proved to be true, Fifa president Sepp Blatter should resign.

"These are obviously very serious allegations and they need to be investigated very quickly," he said.

"The failure of Sepp Blatter over the past two years really to take this seriously ... does put his position into question.

"If these allegations are shown to be correct, then the contest of the 2022 host country does need to be looked at again."

Sports Minister Helen Grant added: "These appear to be very serious allegations.

Al Shamal stadium pictured in artist's impression as one of stadiums for World Cup in Qatar. An artist's impression of Qatar's planned Al-Shamal stadium

"It is essential that major sporting events are awarded in an open, fair and transparent manner."

Mr Bin Hammam is a controversial figure in world football. He was banned for life from football administration by Fifa's ethics committee shortly after a failed campaign for the presidency in 2011.

In 2010, he was among the 22 people who decided to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

The decision provoked widespread condemnation, and concerns about the safety of players, who will be forced to play in the nation's extreme heat.

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