FIFA probes Australian World Cup jewellery bribery

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Australian 2022 bidding team defends itself against bribery claims.

FIFA has confirmed it is investigating whether the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) gave jewellery to the wives of FIFA executive committee members to influence voting for the 2022 World Cup host.

It has been alleged that the FFA provide the wives of FIFA’s executive committee pearl necklaces in order to sway the body’s decision. It is the executive committee that votes on which country is to host the World Cup in any given year.

A question has also arisen over whether the FFA paid for the Trinidad and Tobago team to fly to Cyprus.

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Trinidad and Tobago is coincidentally the home association of FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

As the head of Concacaf, the North American and Caribbean football association, Warner also happens to control three of the 24 votes which decide the World Cup hosts.

In a statement, FIFA said: "Fifa can confirm that it is looking into this matter.

"For the time being, Fifa cannot disclose any other details or make any further comment."

The 2018-2022 bids to host the World Cup have so far been controversial, with FIFA seeking to improve bidding ethics earlier this year, after an embarrassing incident involving the FA’s Lord Triesman.

The Australian bidding team has denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley said: “Football Federation Australia has acted in accordance with FIFA guidelines in respect to its bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“Furthermore our financial records and reporting for the World Cup Bid are in accordance with our World Cup Bid funding agreement and independently audited. Our regular progress reports under this agreement have been transparent and any suggestion otherwise is mischievous and unhelpful.”

He added: “It is important to remind everyone that a FIFA World Cup brings untold benefits and excitement to the host country as currently evident in South Africa and that is the reason FFA is engaged in a competitive bidding process for the world’s biggest sporting contest.”
 

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