Australia ran 'clean campaign', rejects report

Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:43am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's soccer chief has denied any wrongdoing during the country's failed campaign to host the 2022 World Cup, while an Australian politician has called FIFA's investigation a "sick farce" and demanded its money back.

Federation Football Australia (FFA) chief Frank Lowy released a statement on Friday, rejecting a FIFA report that criticized Australia's campaign tactics.

"I made it clear to all involved in our bid that we would run a clean campaign and I stressed this objective at every opportunity," Lowy said.

The Australian government invested A$43 million ($37.43 million) on a bid that received just one solitary vote when FIFA stunned the sporting world by awarding its 2018 showpiece tournament to Russia and the 2022 event to Qatar.

Responding to cries of foul, FIFA launched an independent investigation into the bidding process, conducted by American prosecutor Michael Garcia.

A summary of his report was published on Thursday, apparently clearing Russia and Qatar of any misconduct but pointing the finger at other countries, including Australia and England, which had been among the most vocal critics of FIFA.

However, FIFA's summary report was immediately undermined when Garcia said his findings had not been accurately presented. He called on FIFA to publish his entire report, something which FIFA had previously said it would not do.

Australian senator Nick Xenophon said on Friday that the investigation was a "whitewash" and a "sick farce". He called on FIFA to refund the money Australia had spent on the bid, saying they had been "absolutely ripped off".   Continued...

Frank Lowy, Chairman of Football Federation Australia (FFA), listens a question from the media at Sydney airport March 31, 2010. FFA announced a partnership with Qantas in a bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (AUSTRALIA - Tags: TRANSPORT SOCCER) - RTR2CA7K