A never-before-seen report into the FIFA World Cup bidding process has seriously criticised actions allegedly taken by Australia’s Federal Football Association (FFA) during their failed push to host the 2022 World Cup.
Originally leaked to German paper Bild overnight, FIFA have now published the report, in full.
The report, commissioned to investigate allegations of bribery from nations jockeying to host the lucrative tournament, claims that the FFA undertook some pretty questionable actions during the bidding process. That being said, it stops short of outright implicating FFA officials in corruption.
Notably, a $500,000 payment made by the FFA to the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation, ostensibly for the purpose of building a new stadium, wound up in the bank account of Jack Warner, the disgraced former FIFA Vice President.
Warner’s status meant he was one of 24 people who could vote on the prospective World Cup bids, and the report notes “the record provides significant evidence that the AU$500,000 was paid with the intention of influencing Mr Warner’s World Cup vote.”
The report deemed the payment pretty shady, regardless of whether or not the FFA knew that Warner could personally benefit from the money.
Similarly, nearly $90,000 paid to field a match against the Trinidad and Tobago Under 20’s team in Greece was found to be suspicious, and efforts by FFA consultant Peter Hargitay to conceal the dicey-looking links “constitute strong evidence that FFA made improper payments intended to influence the vote of an Executive Committee member.”
The FFA’s dealings with football legend and FIFA heavy-hitter Franz Beckenbauer also came under scrutiny. In particular, the FFA’s relationship with one of his closest associates – and apparent efforts to conceal that relationship – came under fire.
On the apparent logic that FIFA would look kindly on bidding nations that contribute funds to progress “football development” worldwide, the report concluded that “Australia 2022 appears to have reached the firm conclusion that it could best ‘demonstrate [its] commitment’ by targeting development projects in areas home to FIFA executive committee members.”
FWIW, Qatar walked away with the winning bid, despite Hargitay urging then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter to consider the ramifications of fielding it there. That disparaging email was also called out by the report for violating FIFA guidelines.
You can spend the next week of your life digging through the muck of the report, right HERE.