The decision to give Qatar the 2022 World Cup has been mired in controversy from the start. Qatar isn't a great choice for an outdoor athletic event that occurs in the summer, as its average temperature ranges from 95 to 113 degrees (they'll probably have to move the World Cup to winter months, which will interfere with European soccer leagues' seasons), so that FIFA chose it over a more hospitable climate was shocking when it was announced back in 2010. Accusations that officials took bribes soon followed, some centered around FIFA's vice president Jack Warner.
Warner is no stranger to corruption accusations. SB Nation has a long list of them, including in 2011, when he was suspended from FIFA for trying to buy votes for fellow vice president Mohamed bin Hammam's presidential bid. Warner ended up resigning from FIFA and bin Hammam was banned for life (which has since been annulled).
Today, the Telegraph is reporting that Warner and two of his sons were paid millions by companies owned by bin Hammam, who is Qatari. A payment of $1.2 million to Warner was made just two weeks after Qatar won the World Cup bid, and several more payments followed.
There's an American element, too: a bank in the Cayman Islands refused to process one of the payments "amid fears over the legality of the money transfer," so a bank in New York did it instead. The FBI is now investigating the payments, the Telegraph says. One of Warner's sons lives in Miami and has been helping the inquiry.
Warner wouldn't comment to the Telegraph, and Qatar maintains that it has done nothing wrong.
Besides the bribery allegations and the weather, the Qatar World Cup has also been criticized for the illegality of alcohol consumption and homosexuals; potential mistreatment of Israeli athletes; construction laborers working in slave-like conditions; and a planned stadium that looks a lot like a woman's private areas. And there are still eight years to go before the first match.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.