World Cup: Qatar 2022 chiefs say everyone's focus should be on Brazil 2014
Last Updated: 14/06/14 9:27pm
Qatar chiefs have dismissed allegations of corruption involved in their bid to host the 2022 World Cup and believe their right to a fair hearing by FIFA's ethics investigator is being undermined.
US attorney Michael Garcia is leading the investigation into the bidding process for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and will present the findings of his report later this year.
The Sunday Times has reported that Mohammed Bin Hammam made payments to African football officials in return for support for the Qatar World Cup bid – a notion which has been dismissed by Qatari authorities.
A statement on behalf of Qatar's Supreme Committee for 2022 said: "This week the world should be watching Brazil, yet once again the focus will turn to Qatar as the media continues to attack FIFA's decision to award our country the World Cup in 2022.
"This weekend we expect further attacks on Qatar and our successful bid to host the World Cup in 2022. These allegations are baseless and riddled with innuendo designed to tarnish the reputation of Qatar's 2022 Bid Committee.
"The constant stream of allegations that have been released to media outlets on the cusp of our interviews with the chairman of FIFA's Ethics Committee Investigative Chamber do not implicate our bid. They are instead a series of tenuous links that attempt to assume guilt by association.
"The timing of the release of these allegations is no accident, falling in the same week as our interviews with Michael Garcia and a week before meetings of the FIFA Executive Committee and the 2014 FIFA Congress in Brazil. This has become a pattern prior to important dates in the FIFA calendar.
"It should be clear that these leaks are not an attempt to shine light on the 2018/2022 bidding process. They are, instead, a flagrant attempt to prejudice an ongoing independent investigation.
"While Qatar's bid committee has honoured Mr Garcia's request to let the process run its course, our right to a fair hearing has been compromised by certain parties trying to influence Mr Garcia's investigation."
The statement said Qatar strictly adhered to FIFA's bidding rules and regulations but admitted there had been a relationship with Mr Bin Hammam.
"Mr Bin Hammam is from Qatar, but he was not a member of Qatar's bid team,” the statement added.
"In fact, we have never denied we had a relationship with Mr Bin Hammam. As a member of the football world and as a member of Qatari society, he often crossed paths with influential Qatari citizens, including members of our bid team.
"Further, because Mr Bin Hammam was a member of the Executive Committee, we had to present our plans to him and convince him that our bid was the right choice for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And as Mr Bin Hammam was also Confederation president and a voting member, it was important for us to maintain a working relationship with him. None of this was improper. We hoped, of course that Mr Bin Hammam would support our bid. But we hoped for the same from every Executive Committee member."