Published March 18, 2014
International soccer's governing body has been hit by fresh corruption claims after a British newspaper reported that a former vice president received millions of dollars from a Qatari company shortly after the decision was made to award the Gulf state hosting rights to the 2022 World Cup.
The Daily Telegraph reported that former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner was personally paid $1.2 million from a company run by a former FIFA official from Qatar mere weeks after the governing body's executive committee voted to stage the world's most prestigious soccer tournament in the Arab state in December 2010.
In addition, the paper reported that Warner's son was paid $750,000 and one of his employees was paid $400,000. The payments have reportedly drawn the attention of the FBI, who is investigating Warner's links to Qatar's bid to host the tournament with the help of Warner's son, who lives in Miami. Warner himself is from Trinidad and is based there. The FBI's investigation is believed to focus on bank accounts in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands held by Warner.
Warner stepped down from his position at FIFA in 2011 after serving as the organization's vice president for 14 years. At the time of his decision, he was accused of facilitating bribes for members of the Caribbean soccer associations on behalf of the Qatari FIFA official, Mohammad bin Hammam, who was running to become FIFA's president.
The decision to award hosting rights to Qatar over bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States is generally regarded as one of the most shocking in the organization's history. Despite the fact that the World Cup is traditionally held in June and July, FIFA has raised the possibility of holding the tournament in the winter for the first time in its history due to the desert nation's oppressive heat.
In addition, Qatar has come under scrutiny for the treatment of migrant workers hired to build the stadiums for the tournament. Last month, a German newspaper reported that FIFA was considering moving the World Cup to another location, but a decision would not be made until later this year or early next year.