SYDNEY (AP) - Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy says his country conducted a clean bid for the World Cup and has rejected assertions to the contrary arising from a FIFA Ethics Committee report.
A summary report by FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding - won by Russia and Qatar respectively - found fault with the losing bids rather than the successful ones, saying there were “potentially problematic facts and circumstances” surrounding England’s bid for 2018, while the 2022 bid teams of Australia, Japan and South Korea were rebuked for their conduct.
Eckert did rule none of the actions of the bidding nations affected the integrity of the vote.
Lowy issued a statement Friday saying Australia’s bid was conducted with government oversight, reviewed by independent external auditors, and involved input from FIFA.
Lowy said he “made it clear to all involved in our bid that we would run a clean campaign and I stressed this objective at every opportunity.”
He said Australia “did its best to run a competitive and compliant bid” for the 2022 tournament.
The 42-page report released by Eckert summarized a larger report by American attorney Michael Garcia’s into the bidding process. Garcia, a former New York federal prosecutor, subsequently condemned the summary as “materially incomplete and erroneous.”
The summarized report found fault with the conduct of eight out of nine bidders for the two tournaments and made out a “prima facie case” that Australian consultants violated ethics in their World Cup bid.
It referred to the “potentially problematic conduct of specific individuals” and said Football Federation Australia was “well aware” of the conduct.
FFA was found to have made “certain payments” to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) which appeared to be blended with the personal funds of the CONCACAF president.
Lowy said the bid team was misled about payments to CONCACAF “which was later revealed to have been misappropriated.”
“In hindsight, there are many things we might have done differently and we remain disappointed by our experience of the World Cup bidding process,” Lowy said.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.