Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has shocked Australian footballing communities after claiming that “they never had a chance” in their $46 million dollar bid to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
Blatter made the comments at a lunch with former Football Federation Australia (FFA) executive Bonita Mersiades in Zurich late last year. The interview is featured in an explosive book that lifts the lid on Australia’s failed bid for the coveted FIFA event.
“Australia had no chance.”
“Not a chance. Never.”
Some of the $46m is alleged to have been used to buy votes during a corrupt bid process. FIFA investigator Michael Garcia found there was “significant evidence” that Australia tried to influence voting through improper conduct.
Blatter said Australia was “never going to be competitive for broadcasters.”
“Not the time zone, not the money. It is obvious. We have to make enough money at the World Cup for the next four years and Australia wouldn’t be able to do it.
Qatar had a similar problem, but found a way around it with Al Jazeera offering FIFA a payment of US$100 million if the gulf nation was granted hosting rights, according to Mersiades.
Asked why Australia’s team of European consultants had told the FFA its bid was a genuine contender, Blatter said: “I don’t know why they told you you could win.”
In 2015, he opened his re-election campaign by saying Australia deserves to host the World Cup and that it is an “unfortunate omission” the country has not done so before.
But he refused to tell FFA chairman Frank Lowy that Australia would never win the 2022 vote because he did not want to interfere in the bidding process.
“I didn’t ask your government to pay, did I?”
Blatter is currently serving a six year ban from all FIFA activities.