On May 30, 2014 at 19:11, the Secretary General of CAF Hicham El Amrani received an email from Heidi Blake, with a description of being “Deputy Editor Insight” of the UK Sunday Times. Blake sought of the Secretary General to convey to Mr Hayatou an interview request and responses she had earlier emailed to the President of CAF an hour earlier.
The President of the CAF was ‘summoned’ by the Sunday Times to respond to six questions put to him before the next day 31 May 2014 at 16:00hours.
However, the Sunday Times, without any inventory of evidence proceeded to publish and present allegations as facts in their Sunday newspaper. Such falsities as published by the Sunday Times included concoctions that Mr Bin Hammam as chairman of the FIFA Goal Project Committee gave a total sum of US$400,000 to the Cameroon Football Federation. Publication of this and other falsities reflected a cruel ignorance of how the bodies of FIFA function and exhibited an alarming deficiency in the work of this journalist involved.
It is worth noting that the chairman of the development committee of FIFA does not take unilateral decisions. Rather, decisions are made collectively and Mr Hayatou, who is presently chairman of that committee, knows too well its operations.
But notwithstanding the bunkum of rumours and unsubstantiated reports by the Sunday Times, the CAF president reserves the right to sue and ensure that perpetrators of these fallacious rants are held responsible for their actions.
The CAF president remains, enthusiastic, as he has always been in actions of transparency. Despite repeated attacks aimed at undermining the entire African continent, his personality, honour and integrity and in order to set the correct situation against allegations raised, the CAF president has agreed to fulfill the undertaking of responding to the summon of questions of the “Sunday Times”.
Below, the CAF President and FIFA Vice President responds to all the questions as posed by the Sunday Times’ Heide Blake.
1 – Did Mr Bin Hammam, the Emir of Qatar or any member of the bid committee offer you any financial or other reward in relation to your support for the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid?
I have never received from Mr Bin Hammam, the Emir of Qatar or any member of the Qatari bid committee financial rewards to support the candidacy of Qatar for 2022. Contrary to “Sunday Times” emails and reports that I was pampered in Qatar, including receiving from Mr Bin Hammam “value gifts” in Doha in December 2009, I wish to state categorically that I have never visited Doha or Kuala Lumpur, which houses the headquarters of the AFC, at the invitation of Mr Bin Hammam.
The “Sunday Times” further said that I received from Mr Bin Hammam just before 2 December 2010, sixty (60) tickets to the World Cup. But you do not say tickets for which World Cup; whether it was the World Cup 2010 or 2014? But it is important to point out that as Chairman of the Organising Committee of the 2010 World Cup and current vice-president of FIFA; I do not need anybody to offer me gifts of tickets for the World Cup? Am I not justified in my position to have the right to receive tickets for these championships?
2 – What was the subject of the meeting you and Mr Bin Hammam arranged between the Emir of Qatar and President of Cameroon?
There should never be such a question because there has never been such an occurrence between me and Mr Bin Hammam. I do not remember ever if there has been a meeting between the President of Cameroon and the Emir of Qatar or that any such meeting was arranged by me and Mr Bin Hammam. By virtue of such type of questions, it begs the need to measure yourselves regards your seriousness of your approach to issues.
3 – Why did Mr Bin Hammam arrange for you to have a month’s medical treatment at a private clinic soon after you voted for Qatar?
This is a pure invention by you and the Sunday Times. I received no treatment arranged by Mr Bin Hammam anywhere in the world. The only medical care that I did in Qatar was a dialysis session in Doha in early January 2011. This was during the AFC Congress for which, as usual, I was invited to attend. Further, it is amazing that you seem to know better than me who I voted for.
4 – Were you aware that Mr Bin Hammam was making direct payments to the presidents of African football associations while lobbying them to support the bid?
I have no knowledge of these payments and the voting system in place to determine the host countries of FIFA World Cups does not include national federations and presidents. Only members of the Executive Committee of FIFA vote.
5 – Why did you accept lavish hospitality including business class flights and five star hotel rooms from a representative of a bidding nation?
I have never been offered, subjected to any lavish hospitality as you claim by any member of the bidding committee of Qatar 2022. The time I was in Doha in January 2011 was for the AFC Congress and I spent two nights in Doha, housed at the expense of the Asian Football Confederation under the principle which is applied to every invited dignitary who attends such assemblies. You may wish to know that the principle of accommodating guests at Confederation Congresses is applied globally to invited guests.
6 – Was your decision to vote for Qatar influenced in any way by Mr Bin Hammam’s campaign of making payments to football federations across Africa?
Voting is secret and I would be careful not to reveal mine through such medium. As stated, I am not aware of the payments to which you refer. In over a quarter century of serving sports at senior positions in global sporting bodies, I challenge anyone to prove that my vote was subject to the receipt of any favour.