A former member of FIFA's executive committee was accused Sunday of making payments totaling $5 million to senior football officials in return for support for Qatar's successful bid for the 2022 World Cup.
Britain's Sunday Times said it has obtained millions of secret documents proving that Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari who used to be FIFA vice president, was lobbying on his country's behalf ahead of the vote in December 2010.
Under a front-page headline of "Plot to buy the World Cup," the newspaper alleged that Mr. Bin Hammam made dozens of payments to top football officials in Africa as well as Reynald Temarii and Jack Warner, the former FIFA executive committee members for Oceania and CONCACAF.
The allegations come less than two weeks before the start of the World Cup in Brazil and bring fresh scrutiny on the 2010 vote, which awarded football's biggest tournament to the tiny desert state and currently is under investigation by FIFA's independent ethics prosecutor.
The Sunday Times said that Mr. Bin Hamman declined to respond to the allegations and that members of Qatar's bid committee denied any link to the former FIFA official, saying he played no secret role in their campaign.
Qatari organizers didn't immediately respond to the Associated Press' request for comment.
Mr. Bin Hammam, one of the most controversial figures in FIFA's recent history, is no longer a committee member of world football's governing body after being caught up in a corruption scandal surrounding his failed campaign for its presidency in 2011.
The Sunday Times is alleging, however, that he exploited his position at the heart of FIFA when he was an executive committee member to help to secure votes from key members of its 24-man ruling committee that helped Qatar win the right to host the World Cup. Qatar defeated bids from the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Australia.