TIMELINE: The trail of corruption allegations and scandal surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Sepp Blatter hands over the World Cup trophy to the then Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and his wife Sheikha Moza. The decision immediately drew suspicion. (AFP/File photo)
Updated 18 June 2019

TIMELINE: The trail of corruption allegations and scandal surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Michel Platini, the former FIFA executive board member and French football legend, has been detained for questioning by French police over allegations of corruption related to Qatar being awarded the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

The development is the latest in a long line of investigations and allegations against the shock decision in December 2010.

November 2010

An alleged “secret meeting” takes place in Paris between the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatar's then-Crown Prince (now Emir) Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Michel Platini, who at that time was both UEFA president and vice-president of FIFA.

December 2010

FIFA announces that Qatar will stage the 22nd World Cup, winning 14 of the 22 executive committee votes - including Platini’s. The decision is met with surprise, derision and suspicion.

January 2011

The then FIFA President Sepp Blatter says he expects the competition to be held in winter, to avoid the summer heat.

May 2011

A former member of the Qatari bid, Phaedra Al-Majid, claims that money was paid to members of FIFA’s executive committee in order to buy votes.

The Qatar 2022 bid team deny any wrongdoing, saying their name had been “dragged through the mud for no reason.”

June 2011

FIFA executive committee member, the Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam, is found guilty of bribery and banned from all international and national football activity for life. 

July 2011

Al-Majid retracts her claims of corruption, but later says she did so after being coerced by Qatar’s organising committee.

July 2012

FIFA commissions a report into allegations of corruption led by Michael Garcia, head of its ethics committee.

September 2013

Amnesty International uncovers “human rights abuses” on World Cup construction projects, releasing a report that details “an alarming level of exploitation.” In the years that follow, human rights groups issue report after report documenting abuses towards the workforce building Qatar's World Cup infrastructure.

June 2014

The Sunday Times reports that Hammam had made payments to football officials in return for votes for Qatar.

December 2014

Garcia resigns after losing an appeal against FIFA’s decision to publish what he described as an “erroneous” summary of his 430-page report.

May 2015

Seven FIFA officials are arrested in Zurich for alleged racketeering, conspiracy and corruption while Swiss authorities raid the FIFA headquarters looking for evidence linked to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

June 2015

Blatter resigns after 17 years in charge of Fifa.

 

September 2015

Swiss authorities open criminal proceedings against Blatter focusing on a payment of two million Swiss francs to Platini. The payment was for work carried out by Platini as a consultant for FIFA between January 1999 and June 2002, but was not executed until 2011 - three months after Qatar won its bid to host the World Cup.

October 2015

Blatter accuses Platini of going back on an agreement that Russia would host the 2018 World Cup and the USA would host the 2022 tournament. Blatter says Platini changed his mind and backed Qatar after the November 2010 meeting with Sarkozy and Sheikh Tamim in Paris.

December 2015

Blatter and Platini are banned from football for eight years by FIFA’s ethics committee.

April 2017

The National Public Prosecutor’s Office in France launches an investigation into how and why the 2018 and 2022 tournaments were awarded to Russia and Qatar.

June 2017

Fifa finally releases Garcia’s full report on corruption at the organization.

June 2019

Platini held for questioning by French police in Paris as part of the  investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

 


The Egyptian showjumper making the Arab world proud

Updated 07 August 2020

The Egyptian showjumper making the Arab world proud

  • Mohamed Zeyada has secured his place in sporting history by winning a spot at the Olympic Games
  • A big challenge for Zeyada has been Egypt’s longstanding ban on the import and export of horses

CAIRO: Whatever happens from here on, Mohamed Zeyada (also known as Mouda) will always be remembered as the Egyptian equestrian whose team achieved something that has eluded the country for more than 60 years: Securing a spot at the Olympic Games.

Now 25, Zeyada has been riding since the age of 5. “It all started when my parents and I were in Smouha Club in Alexandria, and the big sand arena full of horses caught my eye,” he said.

“As a child, I asked my mother if I could ride a horse, but of course she refused. That day, I wouldn’t leave the club until I got on top of one of those horses. I haven’t stopped riding since.”

Zeyada’s mother was terrified at first, but as his biggest supporter and manager, she plunged into the world of horseback riding.

“Despite her fears, my mother learned the ins and outs of the sport,” he said. “Now she’s an FEI level 3 jury, so she actually gets me asking her for rules.”

Egyptian rider Zeyada has been riding since the age of 5. (Supplied)

The passionate showjumper was only 6 when he took part in his first competition, which was hosted at Abdel Said’s private farm in Alexandria.

Together with Said, another member of the national showjumpers team, Zeyada would train on the difficult fences first.

With the constant support of his mother and Hesham Hatab, president of the Egyptian Equestrian Federation and of the Egyptian Olympic Committee, Zeyada was ready to move on to bigger things by the age of 13.

“Growing up, I used to idolize Karim El-Zoghby. Back then, Karim was in the Netherlands, and in order for me to get the training I needed to become a world-class rider, I too had to move there. Balancing between my studies and riding in the Netherlands required dedication, discipline and persistence,” Zeyada said.

“A few years later, joining pharmacy school didn’t make that task any easier. I remember skimming through 14 lectures a day just to catch up on my studies. My mom was my only motivation. Without her constant support, I wouldn’t have been able to tackle all these challenges.”

The passionate showjumper was only 6 when he took part in his first competition. (Supplied)

These were not the only challenges facing Zeyada. Egypt was long banned from importing and exporting horses, which prevented the ambitious young athlete from riding in World Cup qualifiers or sending his horses abroad.

“I felt imprisoned, stuck with no way out. Back then, I decided to put my training on hold just so I can focus on my studies. I felt that the time, money and effort spent on this sport weren’t taking me where I wanted to be,” he said.

“I didn’t quit, but I only participated in shows, and I can safely say this was surely one mistake I learned from.”

All the hard work finally paid off for Zeyada and the national team when the all-star quartet scored Egypt its first-ever Nations Cup win in Morocco. Shortly after, the team went on to the Olympics qualifier games.

“We haven’t had that much support. We were all training, riding and competing independently,” Zeyada said.

“It’s just recently that we started receiving some financial support to help ease the burden. We were able to prove that we can deliver results with very limited resources.”

While the dedicated rider looks calm and collected on the outside, he admits that the Tokyo Olympics will not be an easy task. (Supplied)

While the dedicated rider looks calm and collected on the outside, he admits that the Tokyo Olympics will not be an easy task. (It has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is now set to take place in July-August 2021.)

“Qualifying for the World Cup games is a win on its own. It’s something we haven’t done in 60 years, but it’s only the beginning,” Zeyada said.

“We’re going through extensive preparations. I just qualified my second horse, just to make sure I have a plan B in case anything goes wrong. My show plan is already set and communicated with all my team members, from my grooms to my vet and my blacksmith,” he added.

“Currently, I’m pampering my horses with the best training, health, grooming and happiness routines. Ultimately, the goal here is to get my horse, my partner, in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally.

“Winning isn’t possible without a partnership, a relationship with your horse. To be up there on top, everyone has to give 100 percent.”

* This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.