Qatar FIFA 2022 Courts Controversy yet Again-Sponsors Allege Bribery, Seek Investigation

Posted on 9th June 2014

As timelines close in for the World Cup FIFA event in Brazil,  sponsors Sony, Adidas and Visa have cast their allegations on Qatar's capability once again to host the event in 2022.

The Sunday Times, an international daily had already posted fresh allegations against Qatar stating that that then-Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari, had brokered meetings between Qatari officials and governments to discuss bilateral trade deals, publishing allegedly leaked documents to support its claim, according to the Guardian.

Qatar denies Bin Hammam was connected to its bid for the Cupand FIFA has already banned Bin Hammam for life from football over accusations that he paid bribes to win votes for a bid to become FIFA president. While the ban was later reversed, another was imposed for conflict of interest immediately thereafter.

Already shrouded in controversy for its alleged  inhumane labour practices and later on the capability of Qatar to host the event under high temperatures and if it is allowed to continue to host the event, it might require rescheduling of time tables of sponsors and broadcasters alike.  FIFA has constituted a Committee to investigate the allegations leveled against both Qatar and Russia which is scheduled to host the event in 2018 with former US prosecutor Michael Garcia leading the internal investigation due to submit its report in July, around a week after this year's World Cup final. There has now been an outcry from sponsors to strip Qatar of the World Cup if the Committee's report proves the allegations.

Sony, Adidas and Visa are among six main FIFA sponsors who collectively paid around US$ 180 million last year, while Sony's agreement for sponsorship which had included the 2010 World Cup expires this year, leaving it free to negotiate a new deal for the 2018 and 2022 events.

The United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea were the rivals who lost out to Qatar in the 2010 vote are being considered as safer choices as former hosts of major sporting events and developed markets for consumer brands, unlike Qatar which has no former football tradition.

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