March 11 – FIFA has issued a brief response to calls for an investigation into an alleged $400 million TV deal offered by Qatar’s state-run broadcaster Al Jazeera three weeks before the country was awarded the 2022 World Cup back in December 2010.
The Sunday Times reported that the lucrative deal included a $100 million “success fee” (their words) to be paid into a designated FIFA account if Qatar won the vote.
In an email to questions from the newspaper, which splashed its latest claims on two pages, FIFA pointed out that former ethics investigator Michael Garcia’s 2014 report into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were published in full on its website in June 2017.
“Furthermore, please note that FIFA lodged a criminal complaint with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, which is still pending,” said its statement.
According to the Sunday Times Al Jazeera, which is now known as Bein Sports, was owned and controlled by Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who was the driving force behind the World Cup bid and that therefore the alleged deal represented a conflict of interest.
The leaked documents allegedly detailed the offer as being made to FIFA’s executive (rather than its executive committee) just as the bidding campaigns to host the World Cup were reaching a climax. The only member of the FIFA executive who had a vote for the 2022 hosting was Sepp Blatter and he didn’t vote for Qatar.
The email allegedly states: “In the event that the 2022 competition is awarded to the state of Qatar, al-Jazeera shall, in addition to the … rights fee, pay to Fifa into the designated account the monetary amount of $100m.”
The emails published do not give detail of the full amount of territories covered in the Al Jazeera offer or for the length of the deal, or the stage of the overall TV negotiation. It is not unusual that the 2022 rights would be worth significantly more for BeIN Sport if the World Cup was held in their geographical region than if held on another continent and in another timezone.
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