Hayatou rubbishes 'ridiculous allegations'

FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou has labelled claims he received bribes to vote for Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid as 'ridiculous allegations'.

Hayatou was named in an article by The Sunday Times on June 1 as one of the football officials that received gifts from former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed bin Hamman to vote for Qatar in 2010.

But the Cameroonian president of the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) 'denied categorically' those claims in a statement on Sunday and revealed he had been given less than 24 hours to respond to The Sunday Times via email.

"The email expressed fanciful allegations that Mr Hayatou would have received valuable gifts from Mr Bin Hammam and would have also been greatly pampered during a tour in Doha in December 2009," read the statement, which was released on CAF's website.

"The CAF President never attended events from invitations of Mr Bin Hammam either in Doha or Kuala Lumpur."

The statement added: "Mr Hayatou has never received any money from Mr Bin Hammam, the Emir of Qatar or any member of the Qatar 2022 Bidding Committee."

Hayatou's statement concluded with a threat of legal action against The Sunday Times and a challenge for the British newspaper to present their proof of his wrongdoing.

"Mr Hayatou will not allow journalists once again to attack his integrity and reputation. Such allegations are meant to discredit not only him as a person but the
whole continent," the statement read.

"Like in 2011, the CAF president is waiting for the famous evidence from The Sunday Times and reserves the right to take legal action against any of those responsible for the smear campaign against him."