Belfast Telegraph

Jim Boyce: Sort Qatar World Cup mess out now

By James Tait

Furious Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce has demanded that the 2022 World Cup debacle is resolved as soon as possible – and added that he would support a re-run of the vote.

The Ulsterman  spoke of his anger and frustration as the latest allegations of widespread corruption over the Qatar bid surfaced.

There were increasing calls last night for Fifa to re-run the vote for the tournament if the damaging developments prove to be correct.

Fresh claims include 'hundreds of millions' of documents alleging that disgraced former Fifa executive committee member Mohammed Bin Hammam had made payments to football officials in return for positive votes for Qatar.

"I, as a member of the executive committee, would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote," said Boyce, the former Irish FA president and Cliftonville chairman.

Fifa’s chief investigator Michael Garcia is looking into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and is due to meet officials from the Qatar bid in Oman this week.

Boyce — who was not on the executive committee of the world governing body at the time of the vote — added: “As a member currently of the Fifa executive committee, we feel that any evidence whatsoever that people involved were bribed to do a certain vote, all that evidence should go to Michael Garcia, whom Fifa have given full authority to, and let's await the report that comes back from Garcia.

“If Garcia’s report comes up and his recommendations are that wrongdoing happened for that vote for the 2022 World Cup, I certainly as a member of the executive committee would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a re-vote.

“If Garcia comes up with concrete evidence and concrete evidence is given to the executive committee and to Fifa then it has to be looked at very seriously at that time, there's no doubt about that. The man has got to be given full control to do that investigation thoroughly and if it takes more time to do that investigation thoroughly so be it.

“I have not met Garcia, but I'm told he's a man of the very, very highest calibre and I'm told he's someone who will not shirk the responsibilities that he has been given. I certainly hope that’s going to be the situation.”

Cliftonville honorary president Boyce insisted Fifa president Sepp Blatter should not be called into question by the allegations.

He said: “There is no suggestion whatsoever that he was involved in any wrongdoing. When Garcia's report comes back to him, as president of Fifa he has to give leadership.”

The Sunday Times newspaper claims the documents show Bin Hammam made payments to football officials as part of a campaign to win support for Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup bid committee denied any wrong-doing. “The Qatar 2022 bid committee always upheld the highest standard of ethics and integrity in its successful bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup,” the statement said. “We say again that Mohamed Bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar's 2022 bid committee.”

However, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke also claimed Fifa must re-run the vote for the 2022 World Cup if allegations of corruption are proven.

"Some of this evidence on the face of it is quite compelling,” he said. “I think if it is shown it was a corrupt system and that the people who won used bribes and other influences to get the vote, then of course it has got to be done again."

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