sport

New Qatar corruption claims

The voting process for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is under fresh scrutiny following more allegations of corruption.

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.

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.

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.

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

"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.

"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.