Qatar 2022 logo - CC via Wikimedia
CAIRO – 15 November 2017: A senior FIFA official took at least $1m in bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, a witness testified in court on Tuesday. This came as part of a broad investigation into corruption at FIFA, according to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper.
Julio Grondona, a senior vice-president at FIFA and former head of the Argentinean football association, allegedly told the witness, Alejandro Burzaco, an Argentinean sports marketing executive, that he was owed the money in exchange for his vote, which helped Qatar secure the tournament.
Grondona informed Burzaco that he had taken a bribe for his World Cup vote and that another $1m bribe was given to FIFA executive Ricardo Teixeira.
Burzaco also confirmed long-held allegations that FIFA’s bidding rules were broken by a vote-trading pact between Qatar’s bid for 2022 and the joint Spain-Portugal bid for 2018’s hosting rights, which Russia eventually won.
In September, the Arab Federation for Human Rights called for pulling the 2022 World Cup from Qatar by providing two reports. One report claims that Qatar monetarily bribed officials in order to host the World Cup, Saudi News Channel reported.
On June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen decided to cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar, hurling allegations that the state supports terrorism. Ports and airspaces were cut off to Qatari vessels.
Since then, Kuwait has played the role of mediator to put an end to this rift. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held several meetings with the disputed parties, but the discussions have not yet led to a settlement.
The Arab countries listed 13 demands to be met by Qatar, including severing ties with terrorist groups, closing down the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera satellite channel, downgrading ties with arch-rival Iran and the closure of the Turkish air base in Qatar.