Union says soccer scandals show players need more say

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 02, 2014, 20:29 PM IST

Berne: Players should be given more of a voice in how soccer is run to prevent "scandal after scandal," the world players` union said on Monday in the wake of accusations bribes were paid to win Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

The international game has been rocked by a British Sunday newspaper`s report that around $5 million was paid to officials in return for votes for Qatar`s successful bid.

The Qatari organisers have vehemently denied the accusations. Peter Goldsmith, a member of the Independent Governance Committee of world soccer body FIFA, said on Monday the decision to award the tournament to Qatar should be revoked if the accusations prove true.

"Presently, players and players’ interests are too often neglected or ignored in the decision-making process," the world player`s union FIFPro said in a statement, saying it noted the Qatar accusations with concern. 

"This is a sad reflection on the game’s poor governance, which is clearly behind the times. It is unacceptable that administration of the game continues to be plagued by scandal after scandal."

The scandal threatens to overshadow the build-up to this year`s World Cup just days before it gets under way in Brazil.

A former U.S. prosecutor, Michael Garcia, has been hired to conduct an internal investigation into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a tiny, rich Gulf state where temperatures soar above 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in the summer months when the tournament is meant to be held.

The Sunday Times newspaper said it had obtained thousands of emails and other documents that showed that the then head of football in Asia, a Qatari, had been responsible for payments to other officials to win votes for Qatar.

Qatar says the official, Mohamed bin Hammam, played no role in its successful bid to host the World Cup.

Bin Hammam has since been barred from soccer for life after being found guilty in 2011 of attempted bribery to secure votes for his own bid to lead FIFA. That ban was later annulled, but he was banned for life a second time in 2012 for "conflicts of interest" while head of soccer in Asia.