The FFA and Australian 2022 World Cup Bid Team face serious allegations about their conduct after FIFA Ethics Chief Investigator Michael Garcia today publishes the full 422 pages of his long-awaited report into the process that decided where to hold the next football World Cups.
Garcia’s report – leaked to German newspaper Bild – highlights “strong evidence that the FFA made improper payments intended to influence the vote of an executive committee member.”
The full version of the report (a 42-page summary of which was released in 2014, although Garcia instantly distanced himself from the findings outlined in that summary as he considered them “erroneous”) reveals evidence that the Australia bid team attempted to “conceal certain key relationships”, including the one between paid consultant Fedor Radmann and key FIFA figure Franz Beckenbauer.
Another FFA Consultant, Peter Hargitay, is also criticized for breaking bid registration rule 11.4, which states bidding countries cannot disparage the bids of rivals to FIFA executive members. Garcia claims to have evidence of Hargitay sending an email to FIFA President Sepp Blatter criticizing Qatar’s rival bid.
The email was then forwarded to former Chairman of the FFA Frank Lowy. Although neither Lowy nor Ben Buckley, current Chairman of North Melbourne Football Club, who led the bid have been accused of any corruption in the report.
Another well-known Australian soccer figure, Les Murray, is also named in the report for leaking confidential information around the bid, allegedly around the conduct of the England World Cup Bid team.
England face even more damaging fallout than Australia for their catastrophic World Cup bid, which featured high profile individuals such as Prince William, David Beckham and David Cameron but only earned the country two votes out of a possible 22.
The Garcia Report slammed England for “a form of bribery” during their bid process.
And notable soccer figures in the UK have already reacted angrily and are demanding answers.
The 42-page summary report had originally cleared eventual winners of the 2018 and 2022 bids, Russia and Qatar of corruption and any wrongdoing.
The Garcia Report reveals evidence that both England and Australia’s bids attempted to provide funds for football development in countries where influential FIFA executives were from.
The FFA contributed $500,000 to a football Centre of Excellence in Trinidad, the home of Jack Warner, who was suspended and resigned from his role as FIFA Vice President after allegations of corruption. The half a million dollars was placed in a bank account controlled by Warner and Garcia found no evidence of the funds being used for the Centre of Excellence.
The report contains other attempts to support projects in Africa and Oceania, which Garcia describes as “…a disturbing pattern” and “a further unfortunate example of bid teams using money that should be awarded based upon humanitarian considerations to curry favour with officials eligible to vote on December 2, 2010.”
The FFA and Australian bid team are expected to react to the controversial claims when the report is officially released later today.
The Australian bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022 secured just one vote from FIFA delegates.