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Qatar allegedly paid $5m to win the bid for Athletics World Championships

After stirring wads of money in the world of football to win the bid to host 2022 World Football, the latest revelations show that the country employed similar measures to become the host country for athletics world championships. Qatar was not able to host 2017 world championships, which went to London, but it did win the rights to hold the 2019 world championships, which would be held in October.

Qatar won two major international sporting events (world athletics championship and Olympics) by bribing the sports agent, years, French investigators have been scrutinizing the two payments of $3.5m made in October and November 2011, a month before a vote by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to decide the host of the 2017 world championships. The investigators suspect the there is a high probability that these payments were made to win votes for Qatar for the event, which was eventually won by London.

In 2016, UK Athletics Chairman Ed Warner said that “brown envelopes” were being handed out to IAAF Council members on the eve of the vote in 2011.

In 2014, The Guardian revealed an email the sports agent, Papa Massage Diack, reportedly asked for $5m from Qatar at a time when it was in the running for the 2017 World Championships in Athletics as well as the Olympics.

A year later the IAAF’s independent ethics commission mentioned that Kenyan officials accepted two cars from Qatar when Doha was bidding for the 2019 event. Massata Diack sent email to Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani, just before the $3.5m payments were made. Al-Thani is a member of the royal family and chief of staff to Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who was then the crown prince and heir to the throne and became the emir of Qatar Diack wrote, “Thanks again for your hospitality and diligence during my stay in Doha.” Following this, he shared his IAAF letter of affirmation that (Qatari company) “QSI or Oryx QSI” is asking. He added, “You will find attached the bank details for the transfer of $4.5 million which must be done as agreed.” In red ink, he then adds: “The balance of 440,000 must remain in Doha in cash, I will pick it up the next time I come.”Oryx QSI is the Qatari company headed by a brother of Nasser al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain football club and BeIN Sports.

Papa Massata Diack emphasized that the payment must be made “urgently today so that I can finalise things with the president” and show him “the signed contract and the bank confirmation”.Here “president” is referred to his father Lamine, who was the then IAAF president. Papa Massata Diack and Lamine Diack have been ordered to stand trial this week, on charges of corruption and money laundering by French authorities. The money was transferred as per a contract between any Pamodzi and Oryx QSI. A source familiar with the matter revealed that Oryx QSI paid $32.5 million to get the commercial rights to the 2017 championships of which $3.5 million was paid upfront as a non-refundable deposit. The full amount was conditional on Qatar winning the bid.

Guardian also mentioned that a confidential letter sent on 26 June 2011 to him by Saoud al-Thani – the general secretary of the Qatari Olympic Committee and chairman of the 2017 World Championships bidding committee – asks him to “support the event” by buying the TV rights for the 2017 world athletics championships, as well as the rights of the other IAAF competitions for 2014-2019. In the following week, Al-Khelaifi responded that Al Jazeera Sports (now known as BeIN Sports “is very pleased to be part of the Team of the Doha 2017 IAAF World Championship Bid Committee and working closely toward the success of this event in Qatar”.

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