Australia considering response to FIFA bid report
14 November 2014, 08:17
Sydney - Federation Football Australia (FFA) said it would review the findings of the FIFA report into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process before addressing the alleged wrongdoing of its bid.
FIFA cleared Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing in their bids to host the World Cup on Thursday but there was criticism of the activities of the government-funded Australian campaign to win the rights to host the 2022 tournament.
The report summary was undermined soon after it was published, however, when the former U.S. prosecutor who led the investigation said it had misrepresented his findings.
"FFA says it will seek advice from the FIFA ethics committee on the next steps in the process," read an FFA statement.
"FFA notes that the Australian bid team co-operated fully with the inquiry and provided transparency on the conduct of the bid.
"FFA will now fully review the statement and its findings before making any further comment."
Australia invested A$43 million ($37.43 million) in their bid to host the World Cup for the first time but received only one vote in the first round of the ballot. Qatar was controversially awarded hosting rights.
Australian senator Nick Xenophon said on Friday that the investigation was a "whitewash" and a "sick farce" and called on FIFA to refund the money the country had spent on the bid, saying they had been "absolutely ripped off".
Xenophon, an independent to the left of the political spectrum, also called for sponsors to boycott FIFA until soccer's world governing body reformed itself.
Also read: FIFA's ethics judge gives all-clear to 2018/2022 bids
"FIFA is only feigning ethics at this point," he said. "This whitewash of an investigation is an own goal by FIFA and must lead to reform of the antiquated governing body."
The report summary said Australia's bid had funded soccer development projects around the world and "helped create the appearance that benefits were conferred in exchange for a vote".
The FFA is also accused of making payments to CONCACAF, the regional body for soccer in north and central America, which "appear to have been comingled, at least in part, with personal funds" of then CONCACAF president Jack Warner.
The third main allegation was that the bid had tried "to direct funds the Australian government had set aside for existing development projects in Africa toward initiatives in countries with ties to FIFA Executive Committee members".
"According to the findings contained in the report regarding the Australia 2022 bid, there are certain indications of potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals in the light of relevant FIFA ethics rules," the summary read.