Magazine article The Spectator

Rod Liddle: Did Anyone Really Think That Qatar Won the World Cup Fairly?

Magazine article The Spectator

Rod Liddle: Did Anyone Really Think That Qatar Won the World Cup Fairly?

Article excerpt

Credit: Rod Liddle

I suppose the appalling shock to the soul that was occasioned by the allegation that Qatar bribed its way to hosting the 2022 World Cup was exceeded only by the startling suggestion that it was Fifa's African delegates who trousered nearly all of the illicit money on offer. Who'd have thought, huh? The money was doled out by the Qatari crook Mohammed Bin Hammam, according to leaked emails obtained by the Sunday Times .

Mo did not find bribing the Africans terribly difficult, it would seem. My favourite of the various requests for money from these venal and grasping and not terribly bright Third World panjandrums was that of a chap called Adam 'Bomber' Mthethwa, of Swaziland: 'I am in dire need of finance in the region of $30,000. This arises from the fact that I have just retired from politics.'

If I were Izetta Wesley of Liberia, mind, I'd be a bit miffed by these latest revelations. 'I am so happy that I have a brother and friend that I can always depend on,' she gushed, before being passed just $10,000 as a sweetener. Maybe it's because Izetta's a woman and there was Arab sexism at work in the Qatari bung department; it was probably an affront to Mo that he had to deal with a woman at all.

Rather larger sums of money were paid to companies associated with the reliably revolting Caribbean football boss Jack Warner, who responded with the email: 'Allah is great!' He sure is.

I call Mo a 'crook', by the way, but ought to point out that he has never been convicted in any court of any crime, to my knowledge. However, he has twice been given life bans from any involvement in football by Fifa following revelations of 'conflicts of interest' during his tenure as president of the Asian Football Confederation. This is akin to the Mafia complaining that one of its members is too zealously psychopathic. The organisation is riven with corruption from top to bottom and there is a perfectly good case for saying that our home nations should withdraw from it entirely; our continued membership is a connivance with an institution which has been shown, repeatedly, to be bent, and which has not the slightest inclination to change its procedures.

We would be followed in this action by a good few European countries -- although possibly not France, which is partially implicated in this scandal. The French boss of the European football association (Uefa), Michel Platini, has been criticised for his connections to Bin Hammam. Not long after the vote which awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, the French club Paris St Germain was suddenly acquired by the state-owned Qatar Sports Investments. …

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