Australia says will not bid for FIFA events until change
MELBOURNE – Australia has shelved its bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup pending an “overhaul” of FIFA as the global football governing body reels from a corruption scandal.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) declared its intention to bid for the women’s global showpiece a month ago, but its failed bid for the 2022 men’s tournament has come under renewed scrutiny since the arrests of more than a dozen football and media executives for corruption.
“In the current volatile environment, FFA can give no consideration to bidding for any FIFA tournament,” the FFA said in a statement on Tuesday.
“FFA has made it clear that major reform is needed. FIFA’s problems are deep-rooted and tangled in a culture that has developed over decades.
“Until such time that the existing governance model is overhauled, it’s hard to imagine the circumstances in which FFA would put Australia forward as a bidding nation.”
The FFA declined to provide further comment when contacted by Reuters.
Australia successfully bid for and hosted the Asian Cup in January but garnered just one vote for the 2022 World Cup which was controversially awarded to Qatar, a tiny Middle Eastern country with scorching hot summers and no tradition of football.
The bidding process for 2022 is among a number of World Cups under investigation by U.S. and Swiss authorities for bribery allegations.
National police are probing Australia’s 2022 bid which was criticised by FIFA’s own ethics committee last year in a summary of a major investigation into all bidders for the tournament and the 2018 finals awarded to Russia.
Local lawmaker Nick Xenophon has also called for a parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s bid.
FFA president Frank Lowy has been under pressure from local media to step down until Australia’s bid is cleared but insists the country’s bid was clean.
Australia’s sports minister Sussan Ley said last week the government could not consider committing public money toward any future bid overseen by FIFA until major reform of the governance of global football. – Reuters