FFA used ‘improper payments’ in World Cup bid

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    Australian soccer bosses say they won’t make the same mistakes again after a report detailed evidence of the nation making improper payments in its failed 2022 World Cup bid.

    A fortnight after Australia announced intent to bid for the women’s 2023 World Cup, the report found evidence suggested the nation made improper payments to influence the vote of a FIFA member.

    The report by FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia scrutinises, in part, Australia’s failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

    Australia’s $46 million bid got just one vote in support before the showpiece event was awarded to Qatar.

    Individuals involved in the Australian bid won’t face further fallout after Garcia probed Football Federation Australia (FFA) dealings with Jack Warner, Trinidad and Tobago’s FIFA executive member.

    Warner was also president of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

    The FFA paid Trinidad and Tobago’s team costs to play a friendly against an Australian under 20 team in Cyprus in 2009.

    FFA, a year later, paid Warner $500,000 – funds meant for a sporting centre of excellence he allegedly stole after they were deposited in his personal bank account.

    “Those points are strong evidence that FFA made improper payments intended to influence the vote of an executive committee member,” Garica’s report says.

    “The record provides significant evidence that the $500,000 was paid with the intention of influencing Mr Warner’s World Cup vote.

    “Australia’s bid team perceived the payment as a benefit for Mr Warner, as did Mr Warner himself.”

    The 430-page Garcia report on the awarding of the World Cup 2018 and 2022 hosting rights to Russia and Qatar, respectively, was published by FIFA on Wednesday.

    An abbreviated version was released in 2015.

    FFA said the full report “does not raise substantive new matters” about Australia’s failed bid.

    “FFA has said repeatedly that the bid process for 2018 and 2022 was deeply flawed and that mistakes were made by the Australian bid team,” FFA said in a statement on Wednesday.

    “However, FFA notes that FIFA continues to reform its governance, including relating to future tournament bids, and is confident mistakes of the past will not be repeated.”

    FFA said the bid’s finances were routinely reported to the federal government and reviewed by external auditors.

    “Its payment to CONCACAF was also investigated by the Australian Federal Police, which found that no Commonwealth offence was identified,” the statement said.

    © AAP 2017

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