A report released by UK publication Daily Mail has claimed that Qatar spent almost 17.2 billion pounds ($26.1 billion) to host the 2022 World Cup Finals.
The total included legitimate trade deals in the course of lobbying in the run up to the 2010 vote for the tournament, the publication said.
This included goods and services for Qatar such asaerospace orders, a football club acquisition, sponsorship deals and land and general exposure, according to the report.
“There were also millions of pounds of cash payments made to a huge range of football officials from secret slush funds controlled by Qatar’s executive committee member Mohammed bin Hammam,” the newspaper said.
The payments and details about how Bin Hamman “won the right for Qatar” to host the event are detailed in ‘The Ugly Game’ book published last week, by investigative journalists Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert, it added.
The Daily Mail noted 14.72 billion pounds spent by Qatar on French deals, including orders for airliners from Airbus by Qatar Airways, the acquisition of Paris Saint-Germain F.C., and the buying of French Ligue 1 TV rights by Qatari owned beIN Sports.
Former French footballer and UEFA president Michel Platini admitted he voted for Qatar, and said he was encouraged, not forced, to do so previously.
Other key figures included former FIFA executive committee member Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, whose country agreed a 1.33 billion pound infrastructure deal with Qatar in August 2010, and current member Worawi Makudi of Thailand, whose two aides met with Qatar’s most senior energy official in August leading to a 1.23 billion gas deal.
The report also mentioned Qatar Airway’s 150 million pound sponsorship of Barcelona football club, 99 million pounds spent on various African and struck-off officials, and 59 million pounds allegedly used to clear the debts of Argentina’s Football Association and to sponsor the November 2010 Argentina-Brazil friendly held in Doha.
The awarding of the 2022 World Cup tournament to Qatar has been a source of controversysince the decision was announced in 2010.
Last year FIFA released the findings of a probe investigating ethics violations in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar, but ruled out a revote in November, despite admitting some concerns in the bidding process.
Recently a high-level group of European politicians also approved a resolution calling on FIFA to re-run the ‘illegal’ bidding process.
Qatar’s total spend on World Cup facilities and supporting infrastructure is estimated at $200 billion, dwarfing the total amount alleged to have been spent by Qatar to win the rights to hold the tournament.
By Robert Anderson