Australia World Cup bid had no chance, says Lowy

Tue Jun 9, 2015 2:54am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia's bid for the 2022 World Cup never stood a chance because their officials had not understood that votes were secured in back rooms according to "commercial interests", the country's soccer supremo Frank Lowy has said.

The bid for the 2022 finals awarded to Qatar has come under renewed scrutiny after the arrests in Switzerland of 14 soccer and media executives in a corruption scandal that has rocked global soccer governing body FIFA.

Swiss authorities are probing the bidding process for 2022 and the 2018 tournament awarded to Russia, while other World Cups, including last year's finals in Brazil and the 2010 edition in South Africa, are also under investigation by local authorities.

Australia's failed bid is also being probed by national police, sparking calls from local media for Football Federation Australia (FFA) president Lowy to step down until it is cleared of any wrongdoing.

Lowy, however, said Australia was guilty only of being naive in campaigning for a vote he described as effectively pre-determined.

"On the subject, did we have a chance or didn’t we have a chance: As it turned out to be, it was a competition between various associations and some other associations ... nation states," the 84-year-old shopping center magnate told Sky News on Tuesday.

"The states talk to each other about their commercial and diplomatic interests. They agreed between each other what they do for each other as part of those negotiations.

"We know that now. At that time none of us had any idea it was done in secret, so we really had no chance.   Continued...

Frank Lowy, Chairman of Football Federation Australia (FFA), listens a question from the media at Sydney airport March 31, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz