Bin Hammam hits out at ‘hidden war’ against Qatar
Mohamed Bin Hammam has accused a Spanish newspaper of
fabricating an interview with him as part of a ”hidden war”
against Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
Bin Hammam said he’d never heard of sports daily Marca, which
reported him saying that Qatar and 2018 candidate Spain-Portugal
would support each other’s bid.
”Today, you have to deal with the latest series of lies meant
to damage your bid,” the Qatari official wrote Saturday in a
message to supporters published on his website. ”The alleged
interview never took place.”
His outburst revealed rising tension as he and FIFA executive
committee colleagues prepare to choose the World Cup hosts in
secret ballots in Zurich.
Bin Hammam warned that worse may follow before the 22-man ruling
panel votes on Thursday.
”You should expect more of this hidden war against your bid,”
he wrote. ”I did warn you that your noble cause to host the World
Cup 2022 will face some unethical resistance.”
Bin Hammam, the Asian Football Confederation president, also was
quoted by Marca saying that ”Asia supports the Iberian bid.”
On Saturday, Bin Hammam sought to clarify the AFC’s position to
”repair the damage which might be caused by such deception.”
”The Asian executive committee had taken a decision to support
Europe in 2018. However, no decision was taken to back any one
country,” he explained. ”We agreed to give the four Asian members
the freedom to select the country that they deem appropriate.”
Spain-Portugal is competing with England, Russia and the joint
Belgium-Netherlands bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Qatar’s 2022 campaign was put on the defensive last month after
FIFA said it would investigate unnamed bidders for allegedly
breaking bid rules by colluding to share support.
FIFA’s ethics committee said last week it found insufficient
evidence to prove a Qatari-Iberian vote-trading deal. It also
suspended two FIFA voters in a wide-ranging corruption probe
The verdicts came one day after FIFA published reports by its
technical evaluation team which said Qatar’s desert heat in June
and July could jeopardize players’ and fans’ health.
The assessment also raised concerns that Qatar’s size posed
logistical challenges with 10 out of 12 proposed stadiums grouped
within a 30-kilometer (19-mile) radius.
FIFA then published the detailed technical reports in full,
which confirmed it graded Qatar as the highest-risk project among
”You have managed to overcome with great success the
accusations of collusion, the potential postponement of voting for
2022, the so-called challenges of weather, size and so many other
things,” Bin Hammam wrote to Qatar’s supporters.
Qatar is competing for 2022 World Cup rights with the United
States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.