Qatar World Cup 2022 corruption allegations: Hyundai becomes latest major sponsor to turn up the heat on Fifa over newspaper claims

Five of the six Fifa 'partner' sponsors have now expressed concerns over allegations made in the Sunday Times

The car manufacturer Hyundai has become the latest top-tier World Cup sponsor to call for a "thorough investigation" into allegations that corruption and bribery played a part in the decision to award the hosting of the 2022 flagship tournament to Qatar.

In total, five of the six Fifa 'partner' sponsors have now expressed concerns over allegations made in the Sunday Times that the disgraced former vice president of football's governing body, Mohamed bin Hammam, paid over $5m to win support in the Qatar bidding process.

Hyundai joins Sony, Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa in expressing concerns over the bidding process. Only the airline Emirates has so far declined to comment on the claims.

Other significant World Cup sponsors, including oil company BP and the maker of Budweiser beer, have also expressed concerns.

Hyundai/Kia said in a statement: "We are confident that Fifa is taking these allegations seriously and that the investigatory chamber of the Fifa ethics committee will conduct a thorough investigation."

 

 

The Sunday Times printed further Qatar accusations yesterday just days before Fifa's four yearly showpiece event kicks off in Brazil.

The latest reports allege that then-Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam had brokered meetings between Qatari officials and governments to discuss bilateral trade deals. Qatar has repeatedly denied that Bin Hammam was connected to its bid for the Cup.

Bin Hammam himself has so-far not commented. Fifa has already banned him for life from football over accusations he paid bribes to win votes for a bid to become Fifa president. That ban was overturned but another was imposed for conflicts of interest.

This weekend's allegations follow claims last week that Mr Bin Hammam had used a slush fund to make secret payments of $5m in the campaign to secure the right to stage football’s biggest tournament.

The decision to award the hosting of the flagship competition to Qatar, a country which experiences extreme heat during the summer months and has little footballing history, was controversial from the beginning.

Fifa's ethics committee is already in the process of investigating allegations of corruption surrounding the successful bid and is due to report back next month.

Former US prosecutor Michael Garcia, who is leading Fifa's internal investigation, will publish his report around a week after this year's World Cup final.

 

Mr Garcia, who has spent more than a year and £6m travelling the world and gathering evidence, will reportedly not consider the millions of documents that are the source of the Sunday Times' corruption claims.

"After months of interviewing witnesses and gathering materials, we intend to complete that phase of our investigation by 9 June 2014, and to submit a report to the adjudicatory chamber approximately six weeks thereafter," said Garcia.

"The report will consider all evidence potentially related to the bidding process, including evidence collected from prior investigations."

Controversial Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, over the weekend used his Twitter account to call for more time to investigate the new claims.

"Never ignoring media reports on ethics allegations in football. But let the Ethics Committee work!", he tweeted.

Mohamed bin Hammam was formerly vice-president of Fifa and chief of the Asian Football Confederation Mohamed bin Hammam was formerly vice-president of Fifa and chief of the Asian Football Confederation

Vice President Jim Boyce has already publicly stated that he would support a re-vote if the allegations against Qatar were proven.

Fifa issued a statement from the body's marketing director Thierry Weil in response to the comments of sponsors.

"We are in constant contact with our Commercial Affiliates including Adidas, Sony and Visa and they have 100 percent confidence in the investigation currently being conducted by Fifa's independent Ethics Committee," Weil said.

"Our sponsors have not requested anything that is not covered by the on-going investigation by the Ethics Committee."

Payment card company Visa, which has a contract as a Fifa sponsor until 2022, said it was monitoring the progress of the Garcia investigation.

"We expect Fifa will take the appropriate actions to respond to the report and its recommendations," it said in a statement.

Japanese consumer goods company Sony took a similar line, saying said it expected the allegations to be "investigated appropriately".

Adidas, which has a sponsorship deal with Fifa that runs until 2030, said in a statement: "The negative tenor of the public debate around Fifa at the moment is neither good for football nor for Fifa and its partners."

Drinks firm Coca-Cola added: "Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the Fifa World Cup is a concern to us."

Following the most recent alleagtions Qatar's World Cup organising committee reiterated it was confident the bid had been won fairly.

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'