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Sponsors seek action from FIFA over Qatar bribery claim

Sponsors of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) have called on the World Cup organisers to fully investigate claims of bribery made in the Sunday Times against Qatar 2022, reports Reuters.

Adidas, Sony and Visa, sponsors of the FIFA World Cup, have called on the organisation to fully investigate claims of bribery made in the Sunday Times against the winning bid for the 2022 World Cup from Qatar.

The desert state beat competition from the USA, Japan, Australia and South Korea to win the right to host the 2022 World Cup, much to the huge surprise of all nations and other bidding teams.

Qatar is a tiny desert state with virtually no football heritage or infrastructure, and boasts summertime temperatures of close to 50oC, which FIFA inspectors already believe could prove catastrophic to players and fans alike.

The Sunday Times has in recent weeks published the outcome of analysis of millions of documents released by a whistleblower from within FIFA. The documents include emails, details of communications and meetings, and details of bank transfers.

The newspaper alleges that disgraced former FIFA vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam conducted a bribery campaign spanning several years, targeting various countries and FIFA delegations to persuade them to apply pressure to their territory's FIFA executive committee members to sway the vote in Qatar's favour.

The Qatar official bid team have always denied that Bin Hammam, who was kicked out of FIFA due to a separate bribery scandal, was ever involved in any official capacity with the Qatari bid.

However, the Sunday Times' allegations include details of payments made to officials, lavish trips funded by Bin Hammam, and emails which appear to suggest that Bin Hammam was seeking to influence the opinions of the delegates who could have had a direct influence on the voting behaviour of their local Executive Committee members.

A spokesman for Adidas, a leading sponsor of FIFA, said the debate over corruption linked to the Qatar World Cup was neither good for football nor its commercial partners.

"The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for FIFA and its partners."

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is due to kick off this Thursday in Brazil when the hosts take on Croatia in the opening match.