(WFI) INSIDER has learnt that the man accused by the British Parliament of being at the centre of the Qatar World Cup bid bribery scandal was a longstanding FIFA employee.
Amadou Diallo, a Paris-based Guinean-national, was accused on Tuesday of facilitating $1.5 million bribes on behalf of the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid.
The claim was based on written evidence submitted by the Sunday Times and based on a covert conversation with former FIFA secretary general, Michel Zen-Ruffinen. Zen-Ruffinen told undercover reporters that Diallo worked for Qatar “to arrange financial deals with African members in exchange for World Cup votes”.
The parliamentary inquiry claimed that FIFA Ex-co members, Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma, were paid $1.5 million bribes by Qatar. Both men have denied the allegations as has the Qatar Football Association.
A FIFA statement to INSIDER on Friday said: “We can confirm that Amadou Diallo was working until April 2007 paid by FIFA on a Goal Bureau chairman budget with the task of monitoring Goal projects.”
It means Diallo worked for FIFA from around 1999 until this date. FIFA’s Goal programme disperses aid to developing countries.
He was personally appointed by Asian football boss and FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, who runs the initiative.
According to a FIFA source, Diallo left FIFA at Sepp Blatter’s behest.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing in relation to his FIFA employment.
The revelation comes as Bin Hammam says that Diallo is a friend of his and is playing a small role in his FIFA presidential campaign.
“I will not deny this friendship, he is a close friend of mine, but I am sure that he has done nothing wrong,” the Qatari told Press Association Sport.
“I will meet up with him from time to time and he will travel with me here and there, but he is not playing any part in the decisions I take.”
Qatar sources have dismissed suggestions that Diallo worked for the bid in any formal or informal capacity, but have acknowledged to INSIDER that they fleetingly came into contact with him last year when he was part of Bin Hammam’s entourage.
The source said Diallo was mystified by associations with the bid, adding that communication with the Guinean was difficult because he only spoke French with a strong African accent.
“If you know the role he plays you will laugh at these allegations,” Bin Hammam was quoted as saying.
“He’s simply a friend of mine and he has nothing to do with Qatar or anyone.”
By INSIDER’s James Corbett
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER