In what must surely be one of the worst cases of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ a FIFA ethics report has attacked Australia for its tactics in attempting to secure the 2022 World Cup. The report specifically pointed to Australian “efforts to conceal certain key relationships in the process.”
It found “potentially problematic facts and circumstances” in the bid. However, the report curiously said these findings didn’t affect the integrity of the vote.
Australia initially attempted to secure the 2018 World Cup; but withdrew to focus its attention on the 2022 Cup.
After spending $46 million wooing the FIFA delegates the hosting rights were given to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
The report found a “prima facie case” of two Australian consultants violating bidding and ethics rules. They allege connections existed between a financial syndicate hiding behind the dubious banner of “football development” and the bidding process.
“The Report concludes that the Australia 2022 bid team did undertake specific efforts to gain the support of a particular then FIFA Executive committee member. It suggests that there have been efforts to conceal certain key relationships in this context.
“Certain devices employed by the bid team and its consultants were seemingly aimed at hiding ties with individuals close to the Executive Committee member concerned, while taking advantage of their influence over the member to further the bid strategy.
“According to the Report, there have been communications between one particular consultant of the Australia 2022 bid team that show the relevant consultant executed his strategy of using his purported relationship with high-ranking FIFA officials to create the appearance he was influencing the bidding process.”
The report also found FIFA itself made “certain payments” to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).These payments were comingled with personal funds of the then CONCACAF President, who was also a FIFA Executive committee member.
But FIFA were more concerned with pointing the finger at the Australian delegation. They cited the report finding: The Australian 2022 bid team had diverted federal government funds set aside for relief in Africa “towards initiative in countries with ties to FIFA executive committee members with the intention to advance its bid to host.”
The report glossed over the suspended OFC representative Reynard Temarii and attempts by Mohamed bin Hammam to fund his legal fees in return for depriving Australia of a vote:
“According to the report, Mr Bin Hammam met with Mr Temarii on November 25, 2010, encouraged Mr. Temarii to appeal the FIFA Ethics Committee’s decision, and offered to arrange for the payment of Mr. Temraii’s legal fees incurred in this respect.
Further, this was an attempt to persuade Mr. Temarii to appeal the Ethics committees’ decision and thus eliminate a vote for Qatar’s competition in the FIFA World cup bidding process.
“Mr Temarii’s conduct and correspondence with Mr. Bin Hammam, shortly after he received the one-year suspension, suggest that Mr. Temarii was aware that his appeal would benefit Qatar’s bid.
“However, there is no direct link between Qatar 2022 and any payments of Mr. Bin Hammam to Mr. Temarii.
“Still, it is evident that Mr. Bin Hammam supported Qatar’s bid and that his actions with respect to Mr. Temarii influenced the voting process by eliminating votes for Australia (a direct Qatar 2022 competitior) and England.
“Notwithstanding this, it should be noted that, given the outcome of the December 2, 2010 vote, the difference it would have made if Mr. Temarii would have participated in the vote would not have been significant. Therefore, the occurrences presently relevant did not affect the outcome of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole.”