Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the man who first drew attention to the potential problems of holding the World Cup in Qatar, and who is considering challenging Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency, is being investigated for his conduct during the bidding process.
The Chilean, who led the technical commission which assessed each bid for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, faces being charged with breaches of the world governing body’s code of ethics following publication of its interim report into the 2010 ballot.
The news has emerged after FIFA’s head judge ruled out a re-run of the vote in a report which cleared Qatar and Russia of wrongdoing but said other (non-specified) individuals could face disciplinary action.
Mayne-Nicholls told the Telegraph that he was being investigated over his links to Qatar’s Aspire Academy and e-mails exchanged with its director regarding the possibility of unpaid internships for his son, nephew and brother-in-law.
Mayne-Nicholls, 53, denied that he had done anything wrong and said he would co-operate with any investigation.
He added: “Of course, I will collaborate and answer every single question.”
The former Chilean football federation president revealed last month that he was considering running against Blatter next May.
Mayne-Nicholls said last month: “It is a possibility at the moment. A decision is not necessary before January 28 next year. The election is on May 29, so we have all of October, November, December and January.
“That means four months to check everything so that the people who have contacted me – and whom I have contacted – can assess the best way forward.”
The Chilean must secure the backing of at least five national federations to be eligible to stand against Blatter.
“Once you decide to be a candidate, you have to convince 105 of 209 countries who are members of FIFA, because that is what is needed to win,” he added, admitting support from the South American confederation, CONMEBOL, was key.
“We would have to develop a strategy in which, obviously, CONMEBOL is very important but from which we can also seek votes in the other confederations because [South American support] is not enough to win.”
An investigation into a challenger to FIFA president Sepp Blatter is nothing new. Four years ago, an investigation into alleged bribes paid by Bin Hammam saw him withdraw from the race and Blatter stood unopposed.
Blatter is seeking a fifth four-year term as president, with the former FIFA official Jérôme Champagne the only other declared candidate.