The United States is confident it would win a vote to host the 2022 World Cup should FIFA reopen the bidding process in the wake of the latest allegations regarding the decision to make Qatar hosts.
The Gulf state beat the US 14-8 in the final round of voting of December 2010 but questions over that outcome intensified yesterday after the Daily Telegraph published claims regarding money paid to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
Last night the US Soccer Federation refused to comment but highly placed FIFA sources have told the Standard the North American organisation are positive on the chances of them winning a rerun of the vote.
It is alleged that Jack Warner and his family, received $1.2million (£725,000) from the Qatari Mohammed Bin Hammam. Both Hammam, the former head of the Asian Football Confederation, and Warner were members of the executive that decided the 2022 bid.
Controversy: WarnerQatar denies any wrongdoing despite the many corruption allegations that have emerged following the controversial decision. Since then half the 22 members who took the decision have resigned including Warner and Hammam. The new claims have an extra edge as the request for the money was said to have been made just two weeks after the decision was made, although the money was not believed to have been transferred until July 2011.
Publicly, the stance of the US Soccer Federation is that they trust FIFA and their ongoing investigation. This investigation also covers the 2018 bid which saw England lose to Russia and is being carried out by Michael Garcia on behalf of FIFA’s ethics committee. It is expected to report at the FIFA Congress just before the start of the World Cup.
FIFA insiders point out that the story surfaced from America via FBI sources and was timed to coincide with a FIFA executive meeting which starts in Zurich tomorrow. This is seen in some circles as stirring the pot with the Americans said to be aware there are some within FIFA who would like to reopen the bid. It is now known how strong this faction is.
This allegation has caught the FIFA executive by surprise emerging just as they were flying into Zurich hoping to deal with the human rights situation in Qatar. Concern about this has increased following the deaths of workers involved in the World Cup projects.