FIFA says why Qatar whistleblower talks failed

A whistleblower’s demands for witness protection helped wreck

talks aimed at hearing alleged evidence that Qatar’s 2022 World Cup

bid paid $1.5 million in bribes, FIFA said on Tuesday.

The former bid employee’s interview at FIFA headquarters had

raised the prospect of an official investigation into how Qatar won

the five-nation contest to host the 2022 tournament, beating the

United States in a final round of voting last December.

”The whistleblower asked for conditions that could not possibly

be accepted by FIFA,” soccer’s governing body said in a

statement.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said last month that the

whistleblower agreed to come to Zurich to discuss claims that FIFA

voters Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma were paid to support

Qatar.

The allegations were revealed by British lawmakers after The

Sunday Times newspaper submitted evidence to a parliamentary

inquiry.

Blatter said he ”anxiously” awaited evidence from the

newspaper and its source, which could justify launching an

investigation.

The FIFA president said he had wanted the matter resolved before

his June 1 election contest against Qatari rival Mohamed bin

Hammam. However, the whistleblower never arrived and FIFA declined

to refer the case to its ethics committee, which provisionally

suspended bin Hammam in a separate process examining allegations he

offered bribes to Caribbean voters in the presidential contest.

On Tuesday, FIFA detailed the whistleblower’s conditions to open

talks, which it ”could not agree” to.

”Among others, the problems were that the whistleblower gave no

warranty for the accuracy and correctness of the information he/she

was providing, asked for the right to destroy the information at

any time and that the information he/she provided not be made

public,” FIFA said.

FIFA also was asked to ”cover the costs to indemnify the

whistleblower for any breaches of contract he/she would be sued

for, for any liabilities and for any potential criminal proceedings

related to the agreement, as well as for an unlimited witness

protection program.”

Qatari officials have denied the allegations and suggested that

the whistleblower was ”an embittered ex-employee.”

Hayatou, the Confederation of African Football president from

Cameroon, and Ivory Coast official Anouma, also deny the

allegations.

Blatter has suggested that, if new evidence does emerge, Qatar’s

2022 bid could be investigated by his proposed ”committee of wise

men” or a revamped ethics panel.

The FIFA leader was re-elected unopposed last Wednesday and

promised to reform FIFA’s judicial bodies and improve the

organization’s battered image.

Bin Hammam denies the presidential election bribery claims and

faces a full ethics hearing next month, alongside FIFA vice

president Jack Warner from Trinidad and two Caribbean Football

Union officials.