SYDNEY - Australia remained cautious on
Monday about the prospects of a FIFA inquiry into corruption in
the bidding process for the hosting of the 2022 World Cup
resulting in a re-run of the controversial vote.
Australia's A$45 million ($48 million) bid garnered just one
vote when Qatar won the contest to host the world's biggest
single sporting event last December in a ballot also contested
by the United States, Japan and South Korea.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter last week responded to newspaper
reports that two members of the executive committee were paid to
vote for the Gulf State's bid by saying the whistleblower behind
the allegations would be interviewed this week.
Blatter, who goes up against Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam in an
election for the presidency of FIFA on June 1, has not ruled out
a re-run of the vote but Football Federation Australia (FFA) was
not about to pre-empt a decision.
"FFA has yet to seriously consider its position following
the FIFA President's comments about the 2022 World Cup bidding
process," an FFA spokesman said on Monday.
"If and when FIFA makes a decision about a review, FFA will
make a decision on what is best for Australian football."
Sports minister Mark Arbib also sounded a cautionary note
when asked about the prospects of a re-run over the weekend.
"We're not getting our hopes up that there will be a
decision to have a new ballot," he told reporters. "I don't
think we should get our hopes up yet.
"We need to have a chance for these allegations to be
Arbib, who is expected to face questions in the Australian
parliament on Tuesday about how the A$45 million was spent, said
a new campaign should not cost any extra money.
"All the work has been done in terms of scoping the stadium,
all the specifications, the technical work is complete," he
Frank Lowy, the octogenarian shopping centre tycoon who runs
FFA and said executive committee members had "outright lied" to
the Australian bid team, has yet to make public comment on the
Even if there was to be a re-run, however, Australia would
be far from favourites, as one newspaper columnist pointed out
"Lost in the wash of last December's contentious vote was
the fact that the Qataris weren't alone in giving Frank Lowy a
black eye," Michael Cockerill wrote in the Sydney Morning
"By the time the poll closed, the Americans had eight times
as many votes as Australia. That's a lot of ground to make up."
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