The 'whistleblower' who accused the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid of corruption has withdrawn the allegations and has apologised for telling “lies.”
Phaedra Al Majid, a former international media officer for Qatar 2022, said she had fabricated the claims as revenge for losing her job.
She had named FIFA members Issa Hayatou, Jacques Anouma and Amos Adamu as having received bribes — and these claims were repeated in Parliament in a culture, media and sport select committee hearing.
Al Majid stated she had not been subjected to any pressure by Qatar 2022 or paid to retract her claims.
She said in a statement: “I wish to offer a full and formal apology for the fabricated allegations concerning the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup bid committee and FIFA executive committee members Issa Hayatou, Jacques Anouma and Amos Adamu.
“I have lied about all facts concerning the behaviour and practice of the Qatar 2022 bid.
“Never, at any time, were any bribes even offered, suggested or paid on behalf of the Qatar 2022 bid during any time in exchange for votes from Issa Hayatou, Jacques Anouma, and Amos Adamu. These allegations were in full a fabrication on my behalf.”
Al Majid added that she did not foresee her claims ending up in a Parliamentary committee. She has also sworn an affidavit about the Qatar 2022 bid.
John Whittingdale (pictured), the select committee's chairman, has stood by the decision to publish the allegations which named Qatar and the three FIFA members.
He told the Guardian: “I can understand why Qatar would be upset about it. But our intention was to stress that these were serious allegations which FIFA was not investigating.
“If it turns out it was all a fabrication, which is a good outcome for Qatar, that has come out because we published.”