- Associated Press - Monday, July 26, 2010

SYDNEY (AP) - A delegation from soccer’s world governing body FIFA has begun a three-day visit to Australia to inspect stadiums and other facilities for the country’s 2022 World Cup bid.

The FIFA inspection team includes six delegates led by Chilean Football Federation President Harold Mayne-Nicholls. It includes Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the organizing committee for the recently concluded World Cup in South Africa.

Australia, the third stop on tour of the nine countries that are bidding to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments, was cleared of wrongdoing last week by FIFA.

The body said it reviewed allegations that expensive gifts were provided to some FIFA Congress delegates in May 2008 _ eight months before official campaigning began _ but decided there were “no grounds to open a formal case.”

Although it considered the matter closed, FIFA reminded Australia’s soccer federation about bidding rules.

FIFA started investigating last month after Melbourne’s The Age newspaper reported some FIFA executive members were given jewelry and offered travel expenses.

At the end of the inspection tour, the delegation will submit a report to assist FIFA’s 24 executive members select a host for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments, which will be announced by FIFA on Dec. 2 in Zurich.

Australia is competing with bids from South Korea and Japan, which co-hosted the 2002 World Cup, Qatar, Japan and the United States for the 2022 World Cup.

The U.S. is also in the contest for 2018, which is expected to be awarded to one of four European bids: joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium, England or Russia.



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