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CAF says Hayatou denies corruption allegations

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FIFA vice president Issa Hayatou on Wednesday denied corruption allegations made against him in a British parliamentary hearing and threatened legal action to defend himself.

Hayatou, Africa's top football official, called the allegations ''pure invention'' and reserved the right to sue ''those propagating this campaign of denigration,'' the Confederation of African Football said in a statement.

CAF said Hayatou - a Cameroonian who is president of the African football body and a member of FIFA's decision-making executive committee - would cooperate with any investigation after allegations by British newspaper The Sunday Times that he took money to vote for Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid.

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Hayatou and fellow FIFA executive committee member Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were allegedly paid $1.5 million to vote for Qatar, according to evidence submitted to a parliamentary committee by the newspaper and made public on Tuesday.

''The president of the Confederation of African Football Issa Hayatou has categorically denied allegations of corruption brought against him before parliament in Britain,'' CAF said. ''This kind of reporting to create and propagate false information to destroy his reputation, leadership and integrity will not succeed.

''The president of CAF said all these accusations brought against him are pure invention and an attempt to discredit him.''

Hayatou was ''anxiously waiting for the so-called proof'' from The Sunday Times, the statement added.

Qatar beat the United States in the final round of voting in December for the right to host the 2022 tournament. It will be the first World Cup in the Middle East.

Qatar's football federation has also denied the allegations that Hayatou and Anouma were paid money, calling them ''serious and baseless'' and said they would ''remain unproven because they are false.''

The Sunday Times journalists said that a man working for Hayatou, Amadou Diallo, also worked for the Qatar bid and arranged financial deals with African football officials.

Hayatou - who has been in charge of CAF for over 20 years - denied Diallo worked for him as a ''charge de mission.''

''The president of CAF is ready to cooperate with whosoever would like to investigate the accusations and reserves the right to seek legal redress against those propagating this campaign of denigration,'' CAF's statement said.

CAF said it had accepted $1.8 million from Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid committee as a ''sponsoring fee'' for its general assembly meeting last year.

''In return, (the) Qatar 2022 Bid Committee was given the exclusive rights to address the general assembly and make presentations to members,'' CAF said. ''This sponsorship was approved by the Executive Committee of CAF ... an agreement was signed between the two parties.''

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