New allegations have emerged alleging corruption at the heart of Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
In an investigation by The Sunday Times, the newspaper claims to have obtained millions of secret documents from a Fifa insider that prove the decision to grant Qatar the 2022 World Cup had been influenced by payments made by disgraced former Fifa vice-president Mohammed Bin Hammam.
According to the Sunday Times report, the secret documents show a campaign of corruption, which saw Hammam pay out millions of pounds in order to secure support for the Qatari bid from Football Associations across the world.
Fifa executive committee members, government ministers and football associations have denied any wrongdoing and Michael Garcia, a lawyer employed by Fifa to investigate corruption in the organisation, is set to hold talks with the Qatar bid committee in Oman this week.
Bin Hammam, who was previously the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president, was removed from Fifa after it was found he had used money to influence votes during his campaign to become Fifa President in 2011.
It is alleged that Bin Hammam targeted Football Associations in Africa and used a number of slush funds to pay cash to high ranking football officials to help produce a "groundswell" of support for the controversial Qatari bid.
The newspaper claims that dozens of payments of up to £200,000 were paid into the accounts of 30 different African football associations in an apparent attempt to persuade them to support Qatar’s bid.
When approached by the Sunday Times Mr Bin Hammam's son Hamad Al Abdulla declined to comment on his behalf.
The paper claims that another benefactor of Bin Hammam’s campaigning is the controversial former Chief of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association Jack Warner. Warner denies these claims saying that they are” baseless allegations based on innuendoes” and said the money he received from Bin Hammam was to help with losses he suffered during an earthquake in China.
According to The Sunday Times, they have evidence that Warner had more than $1.6m funnelled into his accounts by Bin Hammam, including $450,000 for his vote.
The Qatar bidding committee has always strenuously denied that Bin Hammam actively lobbied on their behalf in the lead up to the vote in December 2010.
The new evidence claims to prove that there had been communications between Bin Hammam and the Qatar bid committee, and that Hammam hosted a number of lavish functions with the aim of securing support for the Qatari bid.
It is also said that at these functions Bin Hammam handed out a cash gifts to a number of influential football officials. In light of the allegations, there have been calls for the bid to host the 2022 World Cup to be rerun.
John Whittingdale chairman of the Commons culture committee, said: “There is now an overwhelming case that the decision as to where the World Cup should be held in 2022 should be run again.”
The revelations will also put increasing pressure on Fifa President Sepp Blatter.
Just last week an embattled Blatter said it was a "mistake" to choose Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
In an interview with Swiss broadcaster RTS, Mr Blatter said: "Yes, it was a mistake of course, but one makes lots of mistakes in life."
"The technical report into Qatar said clearly it was too hot but the executive committee – with a large majority – decided all the same to play it in Qatar."
The decision to award Qatar the right to host the World Cup, which was announced in December 2010, was already considered hugely controversial.
The country has little football history and there have been persistent complaints over the decision to host the competition in a country which experiences stifling heat.