New Criticisms Over Australia's World Cup Hosting Bid Surface

A promotional item associated with Australia's bid to host the 2022 World Cup. An official of the International Federation of Association Football has claimed that the Australian government used millions of Australian dollars in aid to support Oceania's football development programs to bolster its World Cup bid, according to an Australian newspaper. Photo by: :AussieGold / CC BY-NC-SA AussieGoldCC BY-NC-SA

An official of the International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, has alleged that the Australian government spent some 8 million Australian dollars (USD8.16 million) worth of aid to support football development programs in Oceania as part of its efforts to secure the region’s support for the country’s bid to host the World Cup, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The unnamed Oceania football official’s allegations were reportedly captured through tapes recorded by an undercover reporter associated with the U.K.-based Sunday Times.

The official allegedly accused Frank Lowy, who headed Australia’s failed World Cup bid, of using his influence over several Australian government officials to get the country to support football development programs in Oceania.

“Now Australia, Football [Federation] Australia, has talked to the government, well before [current Prime Minister Julia] Gillard, but the Kevin Rudd government signed a three-year assistance to regional football with eight million Australian dollars assistance and that comes through AusAID, which is their development, assistance program for Oceania, to the Oceania region,” the official allegedly said as quoted by the Daily Telegraph.

The Australian government has said that it did spend some 4 million Australian dollars for youth football development programs in the Pacific but clarified that the assistance was not related to the country’s failed World Cup bid.

This is the latest in a string of accussations that claims Australia used foreign aid funding to boost its chances of hosting the World Cup. 

Russia will host the 2018 tournament and Qatar in 2022.

>> Australia Accused of Tapping Foreign Aid for World Cup Bid

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.