French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar



By Tony Attwood

The financial newspaper Barrons has run the story that “A magistrate in Paris has issued an international arrest warrant for former Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam on suspicion of corruption in connection with the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a judicial source said on Tuesday.”

The story is being picked up by a wide range of media around Europe ranging from World Soccer Talk to the Times of Malta, but none of the English media seem to want to report it.   Which is not unusual, given that they eternally bend the knee to Fifa in return for free tickets to matches.

The story first appeared in the highly regarded French sports daily “L’Equipe”, after the arrest warrant was issued on June 22 – so the English media have been sitting on this for three months now.   It appears that those indicted have failed to respond to a number of summonses to appear in front of the financial investigating magistrate.

Now Bin Hammam is not a nobody in this affair – he is the former president of the Asian Football Confederation, and this is not a trivial accusation, as he is “accused of private corruption in connection with the awarding of the football World Cup to Qatar.”   Indeed it seems he has already been “banned for life from football following accusations of corruption and conflicts of interest.”

At the heart of this enquiry is the role of Reynald Temarii, who was president of the Oceania Football Confederation.   He was suspended by Fifa before the vote that awarded the competition to Qatar, for a breach of the code of ethics.  Oceania was therefore instructed to appoint a replacement official, who it seems was under instruction to vote for Australia and then, if they failed to make the next round of voting, to the United States.   

However Temarii was suspended, and so the Oceania Confederation was able to nominate an alternative representative to handle their vote.   It seems Temarii accepted his suspension, but then suddenly changed his mind and said he would appeal.  This then meant that no one could cast the Oceania vote and Qatar went on to beat the United States..

But now it seems that Bin Hammam paid over 300,000 euros to fund Temarii’s defense, and thus allowed him to appeal.  It seems he also paid flight costs so that the two men involved could meet after the sanction had been announced and before the votes were cast.  It is alleged that at that meeting Terarii was persuaded to appeal, and thus change the situation over the voting.

Now all of this comes on top of the fact that financial magistrates are currently investigating whether  Michel Platini, who was the top man in Uefa at this moment, also sold his vote.  

Of course, all these factors relate to issues in the past; the World Cup in Qatar is long gone.   And of course, the case here has not been heard and nothing is proven, but it does suggest that as has often been thought, there was some hanky-panky going on in relation to the World Cup voting, under the very noses of Fifa.

And what we know is that the same people who were around fixing matters then are still around now, presumably doing the same thing in terms of future bids and arrangements.

Yet despite all this everything is continuing as normal, and in the UK the four nations and the national press constantly bend the knee to anything and everything Fifa does while the FA continues to cosy up to Fifa in the hope of getting some more international competitions held in the UK.

The reason of course is that the media get a lot of freebies out of Fifa and Uefa including match tickets, and so don’t want their press passes revoked, which of course means that there is no chance of neutral investigative reporting of international football and all that goes on behind the scenes.

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