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Australia hits back at FIFA

14 November 2014, 11:14

SYDNEY - Football Federation Australia hit back Friday at a FIFA report that alleged taxpayer money went to buy votes during its bid for the 2022 World Cup, insisting it conducted a clean bid campaign.

Australia's top football body rejected assertions of impropriety in canvassing support for its failed bid by FIFA's Ethics Committee and said it had been "disappointed" by the process.

A FIFA investigation into Qatar's successful bid for the 2022 World Cup cleared the host of any wrongdoing, but accused Australia of breaking ethics rules, trying to buy votes and then attempting a cover-up.

FFA chairman Frank Lowy said his organisation ran a competitive bid in-line with the rules, which was monitored throughout by the federal government and other independent bodies.

Also read: Qatar was 'confident' on 2022 World Cup probe

"FFA did its best to run a competitive and compliant bid and to do it wherever possible hand-in-hand with the Australian government," Lowy said in a statement, adding that UNICEF and FIFA were "also involved wherever possible".

"The financial management of the bid funds were routinely reported to government and reviewed by independent external auditors.

"I made it clear to all involved in our bid that we would run a clean campaign and I stressed this objective at every opportunity," he said.

Australia spent almost Aus$46 million ($40 million) on its attempt to host the event but received just one vote.

FIFA's report found Australia's team had tried to divert government funds intended for development projects in Africa "towards initiatives in countries with ties to FIFA executive committee members with the intention to advance its bid".

FFA was also accused of making "certain payments" to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

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