Qatar 'spent big' to win 2022 World Cup
One of the areas Hassan al Thawadi refused to discuss during my Newsnight interview with him was the amount of money Qatar spent on its successful World Cup bid.
Despite repeatedly asking him to reveal the bid's budget the former chief executive, now overseeing preparations for the tournament 11 years from now, wouldn't budge.
He argued - perhaps with some justification - that if he opened up Qatar's accounts for public scrutiny then he would be inviting another wave of international opprobrium at the country's vast spending power. He didn't say this but he probably also felt that inferences would once again be drawn about Qatar's methods of winning influence during the controversial two-year campaign.
But al Thawadi does admit that his country's bid budget was way more than the $43m (£27m at current exchange rates) previously reported. My guess is that it is closer to $100m (£63m). He spent $27m (£17m) alone on a mini prototype stadium with the air-cooling technology Qatar plans to roll out during the World Cup, while about the same again was spent on the bid's marketing and press budget.
Once you include the money spent on high-profile ambassadors such as Zinedine Zidane and factor in the cost of building the Al Sadd Stadium - the first fully functioning air-conditioned arena in Qatar - then it's easy to see why rival bidders such as the United States argue that it wasn't a level playing field.
Al Thawadi says Qatar had to spend big because it was the underdog and had to convince the world it meant business.
"We will not lie, our budget was significantly higher than any of the other bids," he told me. "But if you take into consideration what we had to spend it on. We started behind everyone else, we had to win hearts and minds."
Maybe this really was what Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of Fifa, was referring to when he wrote that e-mail to Jack Warner decrying the fact that Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari head of Asian football, was trying to buy votes "as Qatar bought WC" (the World Cup).
Al Thawadi said Qatar officials were angry when the e-mail was leaked by Warner and even went so far as to threaten Valcke with legal action unless he clarified his remarks. He goes on to hint at the possibility that Valcke and other senior Fifa officials were opposed to Qatar's bid.
"There were a lot of people who did not take our bid seriously, whether it was inside Fifa or outside Fifa," he said. By finally coming out and putting Qatar's case, al Thawadi will hope he has drawn a line under the wave of negative publicity that he and his team have faced since winning the bid, publicity he said was motivated by prejudice. On this point I believe he is wrong. It is not prejudice which is driving the anti-Qatar lobby.
It is partly incredulity at the decision taken by 14 members of the Fifa executive committee to send the World Cup to a country, which despite all its money, is still at such an early stage of its development. A country which can experience temperatures of more than 50 degrees during the summer months when the tournament would be played.
It was unseasonably cool last week while I was in Doha but it was still in the mid-40s and when the humidity was high, it was unbearable for longer than 10 minutes. According to Qatar's current plans the World Cup final would have been played on 3 July.
But the main reason for the cynicism towards Qatar is that people refuse to believe that Fifa, an organisation now mired in corruption allegations, could have reached a conclusion on the contest for 2022 in a sound and untainted way.
With "whistleblower" Phaedra Almajid's retraction of corruption allegations against members of Fifa's executive committee and Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid, the main source of claims against the Gulf state appears to have gone quiet.
This means Mohamed Bin Hammam now poses the biggest threat to Qatar's reputation. If he is thrown out of Fifa for trying to bribe Caribbean football officials during his bid for the presidency, fresh questions will be asked about his role during the 2022 campaign.
Al Thawadi distanced himself and the bid from Bin Hammam, saying he wasn't the architect of their success. But however reluctant he may have been at the start of the campaign it still seems a bit far fetched to claim Bin Hammam played no part in persuading his fellow executive committee members to back his country.
Ultimately - and al Thawadi and his lawyers in London know this - it all comes down to evidence and as things stand there isn't a single piece of hard, irrefutable proof that he or his team did anything which broke Fifa's rules during Qatar's bid.
Fifa stated this again on Monday, backing its members who had previously been accused of corruption, and effectively closing down any remaining calls for a review of the 2022 decision.
That won't stop people wondering how on earth Qatar won it. But for now it buys al Thawadi and Qatar a bit of breathing space.
If only the same could be said for Fifa.