sport

Qatar bid team refutes claim

Organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have "vehemently denied all allegations of wrong-doing" following reports of widespread corruption during the bidding process.

A report in the Sunday Times claims the former president of the Asian Football Confederation, Mohamed Bin Hammam, paid out almost 3m to garner support for Qatar's successful campaign.

The newspaper said it had obtained "hundreds of millions of emails, accounts and other documents" detailing payments Bin Hammam had allegedly made to football officials in return for votes.

But in a statement issued on Sunday, the Qatar 2022 bid committee insisted Bin Hammam had played no role in their bid.

"The Qatar 2022 Bid Committee always upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity in its successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup," the statement said.

"In regard to the latest allegations from The Sunday Times, we say again that Mohamed Bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar's 2022 Bid Committee. As was the case with every other member of FIFA's Executive Committee, our bid team had to convince Mr. Bin Hammam of the merits of our bid."

The committee confirmed it was co-operating with the ongoing investigation led by FIFA's chief investigator, Michael Garcia, and said it would fight to defend its "integrity".

"We are cooperating fully with Mr. Garcia's on-going investigation and remain totally confident that any objective enquiry will conclude we won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup fairly," the statement continued.

"Following today's newspaper articles, we vehemently deny all allegations of wrong-doing. We will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the integrity of Qatar's bid and our lawyers are looking in to this matter.

"The right to host the tournament was won because it was the best bid and because it is time for the Middle East to host its first FIFA World Cup."

FIFA should consider re-running the 2022 bidding process if the allegations about the Qatar bid are proven, according to one of the organisation's vice-presidents.

Jim Boyce told Sky Sports News: "I have absolutely no doubt that if there's concrete evidence supplied by Mr Garcia to FIFA and the Executive Committee it has got to be taken very, very seriously.

"I hope the right decision would be made at that time. I think (a new vote) would have to be a possibility, but...a full investigation is being carried out by Michael Garcia and let's wait for its developments."