Qatar’s athletics boss and IAAF vice-president Dahlan Al-Hamad said Friday that his country did not need to resort to “dirty business” in order to host major sporting championships.
Hamad was giving his first response to allegations which surfaced last week in London that Qatari athletics’ officials tried to bribe IAAF chiefs in an attempt to win the right to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
These allegations would now be investigated, according to IAAF president Sebastian Coe.
“Yes, if we did this, we will say it and announce it because there is nothing to hide these days,” Hamad told reporters at a joint press conference in Doha alongside Coe.
“But to go through the accusation, it’s really painful for us.”
He added: “I don’t think Qatar needs to go through this… dirty business,”
“We are not in that. We will go and fight like the others. I think during the bidding it was fair and transparent to all the council.
“We have respected the council’s decision on 2017 and that did not stop us to come back in 2019.”
Hamad that Qatar would pass any information about attempted bribery to the IAAF’s ethics commission.
Qatar was not awarded the 2017 championships, but will host the 2019 championships.
Coe will look at the progress made in preparation for the championships in three years’ time on Saturday during his trip to the Gulf.
The allegation was made last week by UK athletics chief Ed Warner.
He told the BBC that on the eve of the vote for who should host the 2017 tournament, he was told that Qatari officials were calling senior members of the IAAF “one by one to a hotel suite to be given a brown envelope”.
London eventually won the right to host the 2017 tournament after stumping up $7.2 million for prize money, but Warner has called for an investigation into the bidding process.
In response, Coe has said there will be an investigation into the claims.
Qatar is no stranger to investigations on the sporting front and is already facing a Swiss probe into how it was picked to host the 2022 football World Cup.
That decision has been surrounded by widespread corruption claims, though Qatar strongly denies any wrongdoing.
That Swiss probe is running parallel to a US justice department investigation into corruption at football’s world governing body, FIFA. – Agence France-Presse