The Sunday Times claim they have more documents that show how Mohomed bin Hammam used Qatar’s wealth to buy votes for its World Cup bid. These new allegations are so severe that World Cup sponsors Adidas and Sony are speaking out. It is very rare for sponsors of the World Cup to comment on any FIFA issues.
Adidas is the largest sponsor and has been with FIFA since 1970. The company renewed their contract through 2030.
“The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners,” they said.
Sony is the first sponsor to demand an investigation into the claims.
“As a Fifa partner, we expect these allegations to be investigated appropriately,” Sony said in a statement. “We continue to expect Fifa to adhere to its principles of integrity ethics and fair play across all aspects of its operations.”
According to The Sunday Times, there is evidence against bin Hammam and how he “pulled strings at the top of government and with the country’s royal family to arrange meetings and favours [sic] for key voters in the months leading up to the World Cup ballot.” The Qatar 2022 committee tried to disassociate itself from bin Hammam, but The Sunday Times said the documents will also prove he did not work alone and the committee is not innocent.
The world was shocked Qatar won the 2022 World Cup, especially since the summers are extremely hot and it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach 122 degrees. But the country sits on oil and natural gas. From The Sunday Times:
Leaked emails show that Bin Hammam brokered two secret meetings with Qatari royals to discuss a major gas deal with a senior aide to Worawi Makudi, the serving Thai Exco member, in the critical final months before the ballot.
Joe Sim, a businessman and Makudi’s chief adviser at the Thai football association, met Qatar’s deputy prime minister and the chief executive of Qatargas, the state gas company, in August and September 2010 to discuss a sale of Qatar’s liquefied natural gas reserves.
There is evidence of Russia and Qatar working together a month before the bids. Russia won the 2018 World Cup bid. From The Sunday Times:
Emails show that Russia invited Bin Hammam to a summit to discuss “bilateral relations” in sport between their two countries on October 30, 2010, a month before the vote on the bids. Two days later, Qatar’s ruling emir also flew to Moscow for talks about joint gas production deals between the two countries.
The leaked correspondence shows that Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Exco member and 2018 bid chairman, hailed Bin Hammam’s meeting with Putin as “a chance to further promote bilateral relations between our nations in the areas of sport”.
Documents also show how bin Hammam used his connections to set up meetings between soccer stars and Qatar’s bid committee. He even arranged meetings between the soccer greats and Qatar’s royal family. Michel Platini said Bin Hammam arranged a meeting between him and the Qatar bid committee in Switzerland. Platini was not the only one. From The Sunday Times:
Flight itineraries, emails and hotel bookings also reveal that, after the bid was won, Franz Beckenbauer, the former German star who had also been a member of Exco, travelled to Doha accompanied by Erck Rickmers, owner of the German shipping firm ER Capital Holding.
The company had hired Beckenbauer as a consultant after he stood down from his Fifa Exco seat in April 2011.
The two men were accompanied by Beckenbauer’s agent, Marcus Hoefl, and three other executives from the shipping company which owns a fleet that transports oil and gas on the high seas.
A spokesman for the firm confirmed last week that they were there to discuss Qatari investments in the maritime sector, but said no contract was signed as a result of the meetings with senior Qatari officials, which Bin Hammam did not attend. Beckenbauer declined to comment.
Qatar’s bid committee still claims they did nothing wrong, but there is pressure from the outside to redo the bid selection and choose another place. In May, FIFA President Sepp Blatter admitted it was a mistake to award a summer World Cup to a country with deadly summers.