There appears to be no end to the controversy trailing the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup. The Chairman of the Football Federation of Australia (FFA), Frank Lowy has sensationally disclosed that the race for the 2022 World Cup was “not clean” and that was why his country failed to clinch the hosting rights.
“We ran a clean bid. I know that others did not, and I have shared what I know with the authorities, including Michael Garcia who undertook a two-year investigation into the 2022 World Cup bid,” Lowy disclosed in an open letter on Wednesday.
Australia bided for the 2022 World Cup along with the United States, Japan and South Korea, which was controversially awarded to Qatar. Despite its proven infrastructure and economic capabilities to host the epic football fiesta, Australia secured only one vote.
Widespread bribery and corruption allegations trailing the 2018 and 2022 world cup selection processes has already triggered a massive crackdown of top FIFA executives by US and Swiss authorities. The corruption scandal also forced FIFA President, Sepp Blatter to announce his resignation on Tuesday evening, barely four days after he secured fifth term re-election.
Lowy’s letter stated the money – to fund a feasibility study to develop a centre of excellence in Trinidad & Tobago – was not transferred into Warner’s bank account, but rather directly to Concacaf. The letter alleged the funds were misappropriated by Warner, whom Lowy described as having a “reputation as a ‘colourful character’ ”.
Lowy added Australia was still attempting to reclaim that money, saying it was not used for its intended purpose. “We ran a clean bid and we are proud of that but it wasn’t a level playing field and therefore we didn’t win it,” he said. “I will always be bitterly disappointed about the outcome.”
Despite his grievances Lowy, who went against the Asian Football Confederation bloc by voting against Blatter in the recent Fifa presidential election, was upbeat about the departure of the Swiss. “World football might just be at the dawn of a new era,” he said. “Sepp Blatter’s resignation should open the door to major reform. I say should because Fifa’s problems are deep-rooted and tangled in a culture that has developed over decades. It will take a united, concerted effort by its football associations to fix the mess.
“Australia has tried its best to work within football forums to promote reform. In 2013 we began work on ideas which would allow Fifa to operate with greater transparency and accountability. Many others in world football have been working on similar projects.
“Now, at last, it appears there might be new leadership at Fifa willing to listen to these ideas. I feel that the past week has been a watershed. The series of events leading up to last week’s dramatic developments and the overall scandal surrounding Fifa left Australia with no option but to vote for change.”
By Olisemeka Obeche