0543 GMT March 17, 2018
The claims are made in a soon-to-be-released book, written by a whistleblower from inside Australia’s failed 2022 bid, Bonita Mersiades, who spent years investigating the case and interviewed former FIFA president Sepp Blatter as part of her research, The National reported.
In an excerpt from the book, Mr. Blatter says that Michel Platini, then-UEFA president, told him that he and several others on the 22-man voting Executive Committee were going to back Qatar.
However, after Qatar won, Mr. Blatter was apparently dismayed and wanted it stripped of the tournament.
He is understood to have tried twice to retract Qatar’s right to host the event, but on both occasions, he agreed to drop his complaints in exchange for the Emir’s guarantee that Mohamed bin Hammam, Qatar’s ExCo member, would not oppose him in the 2011 FIFA presidency election.
The details of the secret deal that Blatter made with broadcaster Al Jazeera, now beIN Sports, were also revealed in the book.
In the months before the December 2010 vote – and with FIFA executives worried about potentially low revenues from a Qatar win – the broadcaster agreed to pay FIFA $100 million if the country was successful in the vote.
The book says, “Valcke's concerns about revenue growth in relation to Qatar were assuaged when negotiations commenced in October 2010 for a bonus payment of $100m to FIFA from Al Jazeera if Qatar won 2022. There was no way he could turn it down. According to former FIFA staff, Valcke's share was generally five per cent for negotiating the deal.”
When Mersiades asked Blatter about the deal, he is alleged to have shrugged and simply said, “Sponsors and broadcasters pay bonuses all the time. That is not unusual.”
When asked about the alleged payment by The Mail on Sunday, beIN did not deny it but instead said that such a payment is “standard market practice” and “often imposed upon broadcasters by sports federations and sports rights holders”.