Qatar had $15m in bribes - witness

November 28, 2017
Juan Angel Napout (left), Manuel Burga (centre), and Jose Maria Marin. The former South American football officials are on trial in New York on charges alleging they took bribes and kickbacks in exchange for marketing rights for major football tournaments.


The former president of Colombia's football federation testified yesterday that a sports marketing executive told him that up to US$15 million in bribe money was available for South American officials from Qatari interests ahead of the FIFA executive committee vote to decide the site of the 2022 World Cup.

Taking the witness stand as the trial of three former football officials began its third week, Luis Bedoya said he was introduced to a Qatari television representative by Mariano Jinkis of Full Play Group during a meeting in a Madrid hotel ahead of the 2010 Champions League final. Bedoya said he could not recall the name of the Qatari.

Jinkis said Luis Chiriboga, then president of Ecuador's federation, was with them, and Juan Angel Napout, then president of Paraguay's football federation, was at an adjacent table. Bedoya testified that he, Napout, and Chiriboga were among six heads of South American governing bodies who earlier had agreed to accept bribes from Full Play for signing a marketing and broadcast rights contract in 2010 for future Copa America tournaments.




Bedoya said the Qatari spoke in English as Jinkis translated. Bedoya said that after the Qatari left, Jinkis stated that Qatar was seeking South American support in the FIFA executive committee and "he could ask for US$10 million or US$15 million and he could divide it up between all of the people in the group of six". Bedoya said Jinkis added "each of us could make US$1 million or US$1.5 million."

While none of the six was on the FIFA executive committee for the 2010 vote, Jinkis said Qataris wanted to influence South America's three voters: Julio Grondona of Argentina, Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, and Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil.

Bedoya said that later that year, he presented Eduardo Deluca of Argentina, the general secretary of the South American confederation CONMEBOL, with a letter stating that the Colombia Football Federation was supporting Spain in the vote for 2018 World Cup host and the United States for 2022. Bedoya said Deluca told him: "You're always with losers."

In a December 2010 vote, Russia was awarded the 2018 tournament and Qatar 2022. Bedoya said Jinkis later told him jokingly: "We could have made some money there."

Bedoya became the first soccer official to testify at the trial of Napout; Manuel Burga, the former head of Peru's soccer federation; and Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil's football federation. The three are charged in federal court in Brooklyn with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

Other Sports Stories