Bonita Mersiades, who was head of corporate affairs for the Australian Football Federation (FFA) during the bid process, told ABC’s 730 that there many have been – with similarities between the Australian bid and the allegations made against Qatar.
“Some of the evidence published in relation to Qatar was that some of the money was given to development projects – we gave money for development projects, we gave $4 million to the Oceania Football Confederation for sports development,” she said.
FIFA investigator Michael Garcia is currently scrutinising the bidding process for the scandal-plagued 2022 World Cup.
Football Federation Australia said all its expenditure for the failed bid was on the public record and the Australian government, football bodies and Mr Garcia had all been informed about the missing funds.
“In September 2010 FFA donated $A500,000 for a feasibility study to be undertaken on the project and deposited those funds in CONCACAF’s bank account and received confirmation of this from that bank,” the FFA said in a statement.
“In February 2013 FFA were contacted by CONCACAF and informed that CONCACAF had initiated an Integrity Committee enquiry into a number of matters including certain activities of the former President of CONCACAF. FFA provided all relevant information to that inquiry which in April 2013 concluded that the funds paid by FFA into CONCACAF’s bank account had been misappropriated by the former President of CONCACAF.
“FFA liaised with both CONCACAF and FIFA following the CONCACAF inquiry finding and was informed that Mr Garcia’s inquiry would now investigate the matter further. FFA provided information to Mr Garcia and co-operated fully with him.”
It said it was “awaiting the outcome of Mr Garcia’s inquiry before taking further action.”
Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup ended in humiliation after their bid received just one vote.
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