The damning investigative report on the underhand deals at FIFA released by American Lawyer, Michael Garcia, created a storm of controversy. The report is about the corruption and collusion that goes behind the closed doors in exchange for votes. One of the countries that had its bid bungled through this unethical FIFA process bidding is Australia.
According to Garcia’s report, Australia bid to host the 2022 World Cup was greatly affected by the unethical behaviour at the FIFA’s Executive Committee (ExCo). However, there were indications of misconduct between Football Federation Australia (FFA) officials, businessmen and FIFA officials. But how was Aussie bid bangled?
Australia’s 2022 World Cup started when the government released about AU$67.10 of taxpayers’ money to facilitate the process. It is believed that some of the money was used to negotiate backroom deals with members of FIFA’s Executive Committee in what was referred to as ‘oiling FIFA wheel’. What’s embarrassing is that after using such huge sums of money, Australia only got solitary vote.
The question is who paid who? From the reports released on 2022 World Cup bidding, FFA did not work alone. Instead, they recruited several ‘consultants’ to assist with the bidding process. However, all the consultants had a bad reputation. Here the main consultants the federation hired:
Peter Hargitay is a controversial person since back in 1984 when he represented Union Carbide after infamous Bhopal gas has tragedy. He is said to have helped in minimising the amount of compensation the company was ordered to pay to over 550,000 victims. Hargitay has also been charged with cocaine trafficking in the Caribbean, fraud in Hungary, among other crimes. However, he was contracted by the English Football Association to help their bid for the 2018 World Cup but dropped in early stages due to his bad reputation.
Fedor Redmann is another controversial hiring by the FFA. He has a history of heading the German sports equipment giant Adidas and responsible for winning high profile contracts for the company. Apart from the Adidas merchandise, he was pivotal in the Germany 2006 World Cup bidding. Together with the long-time friends and Germany international Franz Beckenbauer, they bribed to defeat South African bid. Germany worn 12-11.
Les Murry &SBS
During the Australia 2022 World Cup bidding process, Less Murry was an editorial supervisor at the Aussie’s SBS Sports. That’s why FFA deemed him a crucial asset for the bidding process. Murry had a long relationship with Hargitay. That’s why he is the one that introduced him to Frank Lowy, the then FFA Chairman. He also created influence in the sports media (SBS) by intimidating staff that criticised the bid or FFA official as well as FIFA official. These are guys that distributed the money to ‘oil FIFA wheels.’
How FFA Tried To The World Cup
With the AU$67.10 bidding budget, FFA used its ‘consultants’ to try to buy the 2022 World Cup. They paid huge sums of money to Hargitay and Radmann to help them win the bid. Here were the target votes:
Just like Qatar’s case, Nigeria’s Amos Adamu and Jacques Anouma from Ivory Coast were the main targets by the consultants. But according to Garcia’s report, Mohamed bin Hammam was found guilty of bribing these African delegates. That explains why African vote never worked for FFA.
To win a World Cup bid, CONCACAF is a crucial vote. But that does not come by just word of mouth. But one person that the FFA consultants needed to convince is Jack Warner to back Australia. Money exchanged hand to influence Warner voting. As Hargitay puts, if you want the World Cup, then you need to give Jack Warner what he wants. Reports have shown that Warner received almost half a million US dollars from FFA.
Getting a vote from the OCEANIA block was crucial for Australia to win the 2022 World Cup. FFA needed to convince Reynald Temarii, the then President of Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and Ty Nicholas, Oceania CEO. Oceania made a list of demands to back Australia bid. The demands included Hyundai vehicles, a training facility in Auckland and broadcast rights for A-League and all Socceroos machines.
FFA was very confident of getting the Asia vote since Mohamed bin Hammam promised to back Australia back in 2008. But this would change in June of 2010 when Bin Hammam announced that they would support Europe. What’s interesting is that Bin Hamman was a close friend of Hargitay.
All FFA consultants got extravagant sums of money to help Australia win the bid. Hargitay fee was AU$1.96 million with a bonus of AU$3.72 million. Radmann earned more. His fee was AU$5.11 million with a win bonus of AU$5.84 million. FFA also paid Andreas Abold, long-time friend to Radmann AU$4.39 million for ‘bid book production and advice.’
Mersiades was the person that brought out the dealing Lowy, and the FFA were engaging in. As the head of communications for Australia’s bid, she had the inside information about the improprieties. She met With FIFA’s investigator Michael Garcia three times to pass information about the bidding process. After asking too many questions regarding ethics and process of bidding, which got her fired in January 2010. She, however, helped to unravel some of the question surrounding Aussie 2022 World Cup bid.