Former French footballer denies he was paid $15m to back bid and says he donated fee to charity.
Former France midfielder Zinedine Zidane has denied he was paid around $15m to support Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and said he donated his fee to charity.
“I didn’t do it for money,” Zidane told French sports daily L’Equipe. “When I stopped playing football [in 2006], Qatar approached me and wanted me to play there.
“[I was offered] a blank check, I could have written whatever sum I wanted. [But] I didn’t want to go and play in Qatar.”
Last year, The Australian newspaper claimed that Zidane was paid $15m to be an ambassador for the Qatari 2022 World Cup bid. However, documentation seen by the Wall Street Journal newspaper claimed the fee was only $1m.
“€10, 11, 12, 13 million was mentioned. I will say it clearly: That’s a load of rubbish. It wasn’t even a third of these sums,” Zidane added.
In a bid to prove he did not accept the ambassadorial purely role for monetary reasons, Zidane claimed that he had donated the fee to charity.
“It is a lot of money. But this money is distributed by the Zidane Foundation,” he said.
Qatar in December beat Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the US to win the rights to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
Other high profile stars who were attached to the Qatar bid included Pep Guardiola, Argentina’s Gabriel Batistuta and Holland’s Ronald de Boer.