FFA chief not convinced ’22 will go ahead in Qatar

Australia’s football chief isn’t convinced the 2022 World Cup

will go ahead as planned in Qatar.

Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy on Monday said

the ”last word hasn’t been heard yet” on the FIFA vote which

awarded the event to Qatar in preference to bids from countries

including the United States and Australia.

Lowy did not elaborate on how or why Qatar would lose the

rights, but said it related to ”the state of the FIFA executive

committee.”

”I don’t know whether you recall when I came back from that

fateful day (after losing the bid) and I said ‘this is not the last

word about awarding the World Cup’,” Lowy said after he was

formally re-elected as FFA chairman on Monday. ”Well it wasn’t the

last word.

”Don’t ask me to elaborate because I don’t have a crystal ball

… but the media all over the world talking is about that, the

awarding particularly of ’22, the state of the FIFA executive

committee – all that stuff.

”It’s not over,” Lowy was quoted to say by Australian

Associated Press. ”I don’t exactly know where it will bounce. The

only thing I know is it’s not over yet.”

Qatar’s successful bid became implicated in a broad-ranging

corruption scandal that plagued FIFA this year, with FIFA general

secretary Jerome Valcke saying in a leaked Email that they ”bought

the World Cup.”

There were accusations of corruption in the bidding process and

Mohamed Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football

Confederation and a campaigner for his native Qatar to host the

World Cup, has since been banned for life from all football

activities on charges of trying to bribe Caribbean voters in his

quest to unseat Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA.

Bin Hammam has denied the allegation and is appealing his ban in

the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Meanwhile, questions have been raised about the feasibility of

Qatar’s promise to air-condition stadiums to combat the searing

heat in the Middle East during the World Cup window in June and

July.

Lowy, the 81-year-old billionaire shopping center magnate, faced

criticism in Australia after the failed bid, which cost an

estimated $45 million including taxpayer money.

Lowy said the FFA’s focus was on strengthening Australia’s

A-League and for a successful staging of the 2015 Asian Cup.

The FFA posted a loss for the last financial year after having

to bail out several struggling clubs, but remained confident

domestic football was on the rise.

Australia switched to the Asian Football Confederation after the

2006 World Cup, to gain more access to higher caliber football than

was offered in the tiny Oceania confederation.

”I am concerned that Australia’s expectations are a little bit

too high and that they want us to win all the time and they don’t

come and follow it as much as they used to,” Lowy said.

”The competition is hard. Asia has improved a lot, but we have

a coach and a good team and I expect to be there (in 2014) but I

expect to get a bit more enthusiasm from the country.”