FFA ready to revive Australia's World Cup 2022 bid

The national governing body claim to have been making preparations to pounce on a potential void if Qatar are stripped of the right to host the tournament
Football Federation Australia are monitoring with interest the allegations of corruption levelled at the organisers of the 2022 Qatar World Cup and have refused to rule out a fresh bid should the hosting rights be subjected to a re-vote.

A report in the Sunday Times newspaper claimed former Asian Football Confederation chief Mohammed bin Hammam paid up to €3.7 million to officials to receive backing for Qatar’s bid.

Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup in December 2010, having beaten off competition from the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup bid committee has denied "all allegations of wrongdoing", as has the 
president of the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) Issa Hayatou, one of the officials reported to have taken bribes from Bin Hammam.

Nevertheless, FFA chief David Gallop is watching the situation with interest after Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce declared he would be in favour of a re-vote should the allegations be proven via an investigation led by Fifa ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia.

Gallop said the fact the eastern seaboard is hosting the Asian Cup next year meant infrastructure would largely be in place, and that Australia was more than capable of preparing for a World Cup at short notice.

"It's too early to tell whether that opens the door in terms of Australia's position but it's a bit of a watch-this-space at this stage," Gallop told SEN on Monday.

"I think it's a serious development, they are serious allegations and we are looking to see what the response to that will be.

"We would have to make a decision, but we are not at that stage just yet. We need to get more information about what's taken place in the past 48 hours."

But he admitted FFA staff had been working behind the scenes to make certain Australia was considered a major player if there was a re-vote.

"We have been heavily involved in this for months, in terms of what Mr Garcia has been investigating," Gallop said.

"We have been involved in interviews, production of documents and also following carefully what's been happening overseas for quite some time now.

"I'm sure when we are in Brazil for FIFA congress etc we will find out more information."

Hayatou released a statement late on Sunday denying he had taken money in exchange for votes.

Cameroonian Hayatou described the claims as “ridiculous”, and also stated he was given less than 24 hours to respond to the Sunday Times via email.

"The email expressed fanciful allegations that Mr Hayatou would have received valuable gifts from Mr Bin Hammam and would have also been greatly pampered during a tour in Doha in December 2009," read a statement, which was released on CAF's website.

"The CAF President never attended events from invitations of Mr Bin Hammam either in Doha or Kuala Lumpur."

The statement added: "Mr Hayatou has never received any money from Mr Bin Hammam, the Emir of Qatar or any member of the Qatar 2022 Bidding Committee."

Hayatou's statement concluded with a threat of legal action against The Sunday Times and a challenge for the British newspaper to present their proof of his wrongdoing.

"Mr Hayatou will not allow journalists once again to attack his integrity and reputation. Such allegations are meant to discredit not only him as a person but the whole continent.

"Like in 2011, the CAF president is waiting for the famous evidence from The Sunday Times and reserves the right to take legal action against any of those responsible for the smear campaign against him."