TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Qatar 2022: Australia World Cup Bid Team Deny Wrongdoing

Source: thewillnigeria.com
Listen to article

The Australian Football Federation has denied any wrongdoing in its failed 2022 World Cup bid, insisting its dealings were transparent.

A bid member says a $4m grant to the Oceania governing body needs examining.

Bonita Mersiades spoke after claims ex-Fifa official Mohamed bin Hammam made payments to assist Qatar's winning bid.

'Was a vote attached [to the $4m]? If yes, it's hard to argue the activity is much different from what Bin Hammam is alleged to have been doing,' she said.

Bin Hammam is under investigation for allegedly making payments totalling $5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.

Mersiades, who was head of corporate affairs for the Australian Football Federation (FFA) during the bid process, added: 'Some of the evidence published in relation to Qatar was that some of the money was given to development projects - we gave money for development projects.'

But the FFA insist payments to the Oceania Football Federation 'met Fifa guidelines' and were conducted 'with due diligence'.

The organisation donated £275,000 in 2010 as financial support towards a feasibility study for a Concacaf Centre of Excellence project in the Caribbean but the funds were later 'misappropriated'.

Fifa investigator and New York Lawyer Michael Garcia - who has led an inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid process - was made aware of the lost sum.

Garcia plans to complete his probe of the controversial World Cup bidding processes by 9 June, but will not publish a report until late July. Qatar's 2022 bid committee denies 'all allegations of wrongdoing'.