Australia open to bidding again for World Cup
Football Federation will wait until a probe is completed into allegations that Qatar paid for support to secure rights to host 2022 tournament
Agence France-Presse in Sydney
Football Federation Australia said yesterday it may resubmit its bid to host the 2022 World Cup amid fresh corruption allegations against Qatar's winning submission to host the tournament.
FFA chief executive David Gallop said he did not rule out the possibility of Australia re-entering the race if Qatar was stripped of the World Cup.
"It's a serious development, they're serious allegations and we're looking to see what the response to that will be," he said.
Britain's Sunday Times newspaper said it had obtained millions of e-mails, documents and bank transfers relating to alleged payments made by Qatari former top soccer official Mohamed bin Hammam.
The newspaper alleged that Bin Hammam, a former Asian Football Confederation president, used slush funds to pay cash to top officials to win a "groundswell" of support for the emirate's World Cup bid.
Qatar's 2022 World Cup organisers vehemently deny any wrongdoing.
Gallop said that in the event of the 2022 hosting rights being reopened, Australia could submit its bid once again.
"It's too early to say whether that reopens the door of anything that happened a few years ago in terms of Australia's position, but it's a bit of a 'watch this space' at this stage," he said.
Gallop said the FFA had been involved in Fifa's investigation into corruption and the 2010 vote that awarded the World Cup to Qatar, a small Gulf peninsula with little soccer history.
He said the FFA had provided documents and interviews to US lawyer Michael Garcia, the chief investigator for the sport's world governing body.
If the latest allegations are proven, Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce has announced his support for the 2022 voting process being reopened.
"We've been heavily involved in this now for many months in terms of the investigation that Mr Garcia is carrying out," Gallop said.
"I'm sure when we're in Brazil for the Fifa congress then we'll find out more information, but don't be under any illusion that we haven't been involved in all of this for some time now.
"We've been involved in interviews, production of documents and also following carefully what's been happening away from Australia. We've got people who've been involved for some time now."
In the original December 2010 contest to host the tournament, Qatar received 11 votes, South Korea four, United States and Japan three each and Australia one in the first elimination round.
Qatar went on to beat the United States 14 votes to eight in the fourth round.
South Korea said yesterday it would wait for "confirmed facts" before deciding its position.
"These are no confirmed facts as yet and it would be premature to comment. Our position has not been decided," a Korea Football Association official said.
The Australian government spent A$45 million (HK$325 million) funding FFA's failed bid.
Former sports minister Kate Ellis said taxpayers deserved to know whether there had been a level playing field. "We had an incredibly impressive bid and I was surprised to see that only one voting member agreed," she said.