Hayatou denies seeking money for vote

CAIRO - Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou has denied allegations he was paid to vote for Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid, adding he was reserving his right to seek legal redress.

The denial came two days after a British parliamentary inquiry into why England had failed to secure the 2018 finals was told that Hayatou, the long-time leader of African football, and fellow FIFA executive committee member Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were paid by Qatar.

Hayatou, in a statement released by CAF in Cairo, said he "categorically denied allegations of corruption brought against him."

Hayatou was also accused of bribery last year in a Sunday newspaper sting and faces the possibility of an investigation by the International Olympic Committee, of which he is also a member.

"(The) CAF president is ready to co operate with whosoever would like to investigate the accusations and reserves the right to seek legal redress against those propagating this campaign of denigration.

"This kind of reporting to create and propagate false information to destroy his reputation, leadership and integrity, will not succeed," the statement added.

Hayatou's denial follows Qatar on Wednesday also refuting claims Hayatou and Anouma had been paid for their votes.

But CAF, in their statement, did furnish details of a sponsorship Qatar paid for the right to address CAF members at its annual congress in Luanda last year.

"In an attempt to drum up support for their bid, the Qatar bid committee offered CAF $1.8 million, sponsoring fee for (the) CAF General Assembly. In return, Qatar 2022 Bid Committee was given the exclusive rights to address the general assembly and make presentations to members."

CAF said the sponsorship had been approved by its executive committee and an agreement signed with the Qatari bid committee.

It is the first recorded incident of a bidding country paying for the right to address a congress of one of FIFA's six member confederations.

There has been no comment yet from Anouma, who recently won another four-year term on the FIFA executive committee.

However, the website of the Ivorian Football Federation, which regularly posts statements from Anouma, published Qatar's denials.