FIFA vice president and African football head Issa Hayatou has denied allegations in a British newspaper that he received free private medical treatment and other favors for backing Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup in a vote already marred by accusations of corruption and under investigation.
In a statement released late Sunday night, the Confederation of African Football called the string of allegations against its longtime president and one of FIFA's senior officials "fanciful" and "ridiculous."
The Sunday Times newspaper said that banned former Qatari official Mohamed bin Hammam, once a FIFA vice president himself, had targeted Hayatou and other African football leaders with cash, luxury trips and other gifts and favors to support Qatar's ultimately successful World Cup bid.
In FIFA's votes four years ago, Russia won the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 tournament.
Among the denials made by CAF on Hayatou's behalf, it said bin Hammam did not arrange treatment for Hayatou at a private clinic in return for support. The African football body also said Hayatou did not receive "valuable gifts" on a trip to Doha and has "never received any money" from bin Hammam, the emir of Qatar or any member of the Qatar 2022 bidding committee.
"Despite the ridiculous allegations, the CAF president has decided to answer to those accusations," the statement said.
The votes won by Russia and Qatar are being investigated by FIFA's independent ethics prosecutors. They said Monday — a day after the fresh allegations of wrongdoing — that they will complete their months-long investigation next week and submit a report six weeks later.
Hayatou was one of four Africans on FIFA's executive committee when it chose the World Cup host countries in a process tarnished by accusations of vote buying. Ultimately, only three of those African members voted after Nigeria's Amos Adamu was suspended from the votes and later banned from football for three years for seeking bribes during the bidding process. Adamu was exposed in an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times just before the December 2010 vote.
In the latest allegations, The Sunday Times said bin Hammam used slush funds to make payments to accounts controlled by the presidents of 30 African football associations as part of an attempt to eventually influence the voting of the African block on the executive committee.
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