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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FIFA chief in clear over Qatar 2022 'bribes' email

FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke
FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke
FIFA said on Tuesday that its secretary general Jerome Valcke had no case to answer over claims he made in an e-mail that Qatar “bought” its way to winning the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
FIFA announced its decision in an e-mailed statement, according to newswire Bloomberg.
It added that president Sepp Blatter and Valcke "look forward to working together in full confidence and trust in the next four-year cycle, as they have done for the past four years".
Valcke confirmed in May he had said in a private email that Qatar had bought the rights to stage the 2022 World Cup.
The email was made public by former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner at a time when Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam was running against Sepp Blatter in a presidential election.
"For MBH, I never understood why he was running," Warner quoted the email from Valcke as saying. "If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Blatter].
"Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC [World Cup]."
At the time, Qatar’s World Cup organisers “categorically” denied the claims and said they were seeking legal advice and urgent clarification from FIFA.
Separately, calls were made on Tuesday for Mohamed bin Hammam to step down from the Asian Football Confederation over vote-buying allegations.
Peter Velappan, the AFC's general secretary from 1978-2007, said that bin Hammam should leave the AFC for the sake of the organisation.
"He should just resign because of the allegations," Velappan said in comments published by Associated Press. "It would be good for football. This has been going on for so many years. He should follow Warner, strike a deal with FIFA and say goodbye."
AFC President bin Hammam of Qatar and Warner were suspended by FIFA last month after bribery allegations during bin Hammam's campaign to become FIFA president.
Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago, resigned from FIFA on Monday, putting an end to his investigation by its ethics committee.
Velappan also said FIFA needed to be cleaned up from top to bottom starting with the 24-member executive committee.
Bin Hammam is still provisionally barred from duty while facing accusations of paying bribes. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Bin Hammam has not commented since he was suspended, and a spokesman for the AFC could not be immediately reached for comment.