A new book written by a member of Australia’s 2022 World Cup bid team has claimed that beIN Sports agreed to pay FIFA $100 million if Qatar were granted hosting rights for the tournament.
Author Bonita Mersiades alleges that then-FIFA secretary Jerome Valcke agreed the deal with beIN after concerns were raised about potentially low revenues should Qatar win the bid proves.
Valcke is currently serving a nine-year ban from football after being found guilty of corruption.
“Valcke’s concerns about revenue growth in relation to Qatar were assuaged when negotiations commenced in October 2010 for a bonus payment of $100m to FIFA from Al Jazeera if Qatar won 2022,” the book claims.
“There was no way he could turn it down. According to former FIFA staff, Valcke’s share was generally five per cent for negotiating the deal.”
When Mersiades asked Mr Blatter about the deal, he allegedly responded: “Sponsors and broadcasters pay bonuses all the time. That is not unusual.”
The Mail on Sunday newspaper asked beIN Sports for a comment on the claims, with a spokesperson for the Qatari-owned company saying that payments of that nature were “standard market practice” and “often imposed upon broadcasters by sports federations and sports rights holders”.
It added: “There is clearly a significant uplift in interest and additional revenues to a broadcaster and significant additional local production costs to a rights holder when a major sports event is awarded in a broadcaster’s domestic market. The relevant media agreements were standalone from any bid, and were in no way intended to influence the outcome of the vote.”