FFA head says FIFA bid process frustrating
The head of Football Federation Australia says allegations of widespread bribery to obtain the 2022 World Cup hosting rights meant ''I could have stood on my head for 24 months and we still couldn't have got it.''
FFA chairman Frank Lowy led Australia's bid for the 2022 hosting rights that cost Australian taxpayers about $45 million.
New allegations were disclosed to a British House of Commons committee that six FIFA officials offered to work as fixers for Qatar's bid to host the World Cup, suggesting that ''huge bribes'' be paid as part of a strategy to win the bidding rights.
Australia received only one vote and was eliminated in the first round. Qatar went on to beat the United States 14-8 in fourth-round voting.
England's 2018 bid received two votes, with Russia going on to win the right to host in 2018.
''Out of the 44 votes for the two World Cups, Australia, England and America received (a total of) four votes,'' Lowy told The Australian newspaper Thursday.
''So we were in good company. We had taken precautions before we started the process on who will be in the competition. With China not in, it was one of the conditions why we moved forward. Had they been in, we would certainly have had second thoughts (of pressing ahead).''
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Wednesday that Australia had worked ''long and hard'' on its bid.
''We were very disappointed,'' she said. ''We put in a bid which was impressive and we pursued that bid in an ethical and impressive way.''
Asked whether she would pursue a new vote, Gillard said: ''Ultimately this is a question that needs to be directed to FIFA the governing body.''
FIFA has said there was no chance the vote for the hosting rights would be held again.