Cup bribery bid claim up to FIFA, says Gillard
The Australian government is unlikely to pursue soccer’s governing body FIFA over claims that Qatar used bribes to obtain the 2022 World Cup hosting rights.
A British House of Commons committee has heard allegations that two African FIFA executive committee members were paid $US1.5 million ($A1.39 million) to vote for Qatar.
The Gulf nation, which beat Australia and the United States for the 2022 tournament last December, later issued a statement denying “serious and baseless” allegations and saying they will “remain unproven because they are false”.
The Australian government spent $45.6 million helping to fund Football Federation Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup.
But it proved a humiliating experience as Australia received only one vote and was eliminated in the first round as Qatar went on to hold the USA by 14 votes to eight in the fourth round.
Qatar was successful despite a damning evaluation report from FIFA on the oppressive heat in June and July in the tiny nation.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday 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.”
But FIFA has said there is no chance the vote for the hosting rights would be reheld.
The latest allegations were heard in the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons, which is looking at England’s failed bid for the 2018 World Cup host rights, voted on at the same time as the 2022 tournament.
The bidding contest had already been rocked ahead of the vote by details of an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times newspaper, material which was published in October and led to two of FIFA’s 24 executive committee members being suspended.
Amos Adamu of Nigeria was found guilty by FIFA’s ethics court of soliciting bribes from undercover reporters, while Reynald Temarii of Tahiti was banned for breaching rules on confidentiality and loyalty.
The Sunday Times sent evidence – which it did not publish earlier for legal reasons – to the British committee on Monday to be made public using parliamentary privilege.
Two of the paper’s investigative journalists told the committee in a letter that a whistleblower who had worked for the Qatari bid told them in December that the country “had paid $1.5 million to two FIFA ExCo members – Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast – to secure their votes”.© AAP 2013