An inquiry presented this week by RTS reveals evidence of likely vote buying related to the choice of Qatar for the 2022 Football World Cup due to start on 20 November 2022.
A cloud of corruption has hung over FIFA since 2010 when Qatar was chosen by 14 votes to 8 as the place for the 2022 World Cup. The US was the front runner, however, tiny Qatar, a nation with little in the way of football culture and infrastructure, was chosen. Suspicion has abounded ever since, something FIFA has brushed off by claiming there is no proof of wrong doing.
Sepp Blatter, the head of FIFA at the time, said publicly this week that choosing Qatar was a mistake. Blatter told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that “Qatar is a mistake,” and “the choice was bad.” “It is too small of a country. Football and the World Cup are too big for it.”
In line with suspicions of vote buying, RTS, Switzerland’s broadcaster said this week that it had found concrete evidence supporting vote buying. The evidence presented by RTS points to Ricardo Teixeira, former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation and a former member of FIFA’s Executive Committee. Teixeira’s name appears on a New York court document where he’s accused of taking a bribe of at least US$ 1 million in exchange for his vote. Teixeira claims the US is attacking him because he voted against having the 2022 World Cup hosted there.
At the same time Switzerland’s federal public prosecutor is looking at the case and is looking at money flows related to a friendly match played between Brazil and Argentina in Qatar. US$8.6 million was paid by Qatar to FIFA to host the match which was played in November 2010 in Doha just ahead of the World Cup vote. The oversized sum aroused suspicion that much of the money may have been used for bribes to sway votes. Investigators continue to work with the evidence and no conclusions have been revealed. Ricardo Teixeira’s lawyer told RTS that Teixeira rejects the claims.
Switzerland’s Federal Office of Police said that it does not comment on active cases. However, it did tell RTS that requests made to Qatar for legal cooperation have received no response despite several reminders. Qatar denies all accusations of corruption.