Australia accused of FIFA bribe
Australia accused of FIFA bribe

A whistleblower has accused Australia's 2022 World Cup bid team of bribing a disgraced official in exchange for his vote.

The Mail on Sunday is reporting a whistleblower attended meetings where Australian officials discussed paying former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner $A500,000 in the belief he would vote for them.

The Mail says the allegation was made to Michael Garcia, an American lawyer leading FIFA's investigations into claims of corruption in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Warner, a notorious official from Trinidad and Tobago, resigned from FIFA in 2011 amidst widespread allegations of corruption.

The whistleblower says that while Australia made a payment to upgrade a football facility in Trinidad, it was intended to influence Warner's vote.

A spokesman for Football Federation Australia told The Mail: "Under FFA's International Football Development programme, a grant was made to fund preliminary design and feasibility work on a CONCACAF Centre of Excellence in Trinidad.

"The funds were paid to a CONCACAF bank account in 2010 and the programme was documented in FFA's World Cup Bid reports, which were in turn subject to Australian Government oversight.

"Subsequently, FFA was informed in early 2013 by CONCACAF of allegations that the funds had been misappropriated. FFA assisted CONCACAF in its inquiry into the matter ... It's regrettable that the funds provided to CONCACAF were not used in the way in which they were intended."

Contrary to the FFA's claims, The Mail is reporting that the official FFA World Cup report makes no mention of the money paid to the account controlled by Warner.

The Mail says the whistleblower has also accused Australia of paying for projects in Oceania and Africa on the understanding FIFA officials would vote for Australia in return.

The FFA claims that all nations bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup were required "by FIFA to establish football development programmes in other nations". However, The Mail is reporting FIFA's official bid guidelines make no mention of this requirement.

Garcia is expected to visit Australia this week to meet people who worked on the country's bid.

Qatar controversially won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, with Australia receiving just one vote. The Mail claims Warner voted for the United States.

Read the full report in The Mail on Sunday

Kevin Rudd at the launch of Australia World Cup bid in 2009. Source: Getty

The West Australian

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