Sun, Dec 13, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Dutch, Belgians ‘made payout’ in FIFA bid

AFP, THE HAGUE, Netherlands

The Netherlands and Belgium in 2009 paid a lobbyist closely linked to a former FIFA vice president to help garner votes for their 2018 World Cup bid, a news report revealed yesterday.

The combined bid to bring soccer’s world showcase to the lowlands ultimately failed, but the payment to the Guinean votes broker, identified as Amadou Diallo, went through, the daily De Volkskrant said.

Diallo at the time was closely affiliated to ousted Asian soccer chief Mohamed bin Hammam, who in 2012 resigned amid controversy from all positions in soccer before a decision giving him a life ban.

“Diallo at the time was bin Hammam’s right-hand man. The payment therefore transgressed FIFA’s code of conduct,” the paper said.

“The code explicitly states that people affiliated to FIFA managers were not allowed to receive money from bidding teams,” it added.

“Diallo received at least 10,000 euros [US$10,992] from the Dutch-Belgian bidding team,” the paper said, citing documents in its possession.

An unnamed member of FIFA’s ethics committee said it would investigate the claim “should new facts come to light.”

“If money has been paid without a proper explanation, it would indeed be suspicious,” the official told De Volkskrant.

Diallo denied he ever received money for his services, De Volkskrant reported.

“I never saw a cent... Never, never, never,” the paper quoted him as saying.

The Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) yesterday denied any wrongdoing in the bid, but added that it has opened a probe into documents surrounding the bid process.

“The KNVB and the Belgian Football Federation has previously cooperated with FIFA’s ethics commission in regards to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups,” it said in a statement.

“The Belgian-Dutch bid emerged without blemish,” it said from its headquarters in the central Dutch city of Zeist.

“I cannot remember seeing anything inappropriate passing the 2018 bid committee’s desk,” added Harry Been, who was a member of the 2018 bid’s Dutch delegation.

“We did it properly and within the guidelines, with relatively limited means,” he said in the KNVB’s statement.

The Dec. 2, 2010, votes to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar set off a storm of corruption allegations.

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