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New corruption allegations in 2022 cup vote

LONDON -- FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar came under further scrutiny as a British newspaper published new allegations that Mohamed Bin Hammam used his wealth and top level contacts to buy support for the oil-rich country's successful bid.

The Sunday Times, which last week claimed that the former FIFA Executive Committee member made payments totaling US$5 million to senior football officials to seal support for Qatar, also accused Bin Hammam of using US$1.7million to secure key Asian votes.

It alleged that Bin Hammam arranged government level talks for Thailand's FIFA executive Worawi Makudi to discuss a gas sale “potentially worth tens of millions of dollars to Thailand” and that he was invited to visit Vladimir Putin before Russia and Qatar's victories in the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Under a front-page headline of “Gas deal turns heat on World Cup,” the newspaper alleged that Bin Hammam arranged meeting and favors for voters in the months leading to the ballots.

The 2010 vote, which awarded football's biggest tournament to the tiny desert state, is under investigation by FIFA's independent ethics prosecutor. Qatar organizers deny any wrongdoing.

In a statement released on Saturday following its Executive Committee's second meeting of the year in Sao Paulo, FIFA said “the executive reaffirmed its position of letting the ethics committee complete its work before making any comment.”

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