Football Federation Australia has rejected suggestions it acted improperly during its bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Just this week FFA chief David Gallop suggested Australia was positioning itself to step in should Qatar be stripped of hosting rights.
His comments followed an expose by British paper the Sunday Times detailing allegations of a bid-buying by former FIFA executive committee member, Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam.
But Fairfax Media has now turned the spotlight on the way Australia courted votes during the bidding process.
At the centre of the claims is an alleged failure to deal appropriately with a 2013 investigation which concluded that former FIFA executive Jack Warner stole $500,000 in FFA funds earmarked for a stadium upgrade.
The FFA has responded saying it is waiting on the results of an inquiry by FIFA chief investigator Michael Garcia before taking further action.
“It has been previously widely reported that during its bid campaign Australia supported a number of football and humanitarian programs,” the FFA stated.
“FFA has kept the Australian Government and football authorities, including Mr Garcia, informed of these activities at all relevant times.
“FFA’s support for a CONCACAF Centre of Excellence project in the Caribbean is a matter of public record.
“In September 2010 FFA donated $A500,000 for a feasibility study to be undertaken on the project and deposited those funds in CONCACAF’s bank account and received confirmation of this from that bank.
“In February 2013 FFA were contacted by CONCACAF and informed that CONCACAF had initiated an Integrity Committee inquiry into a number of matters including certain activities of the former President of CONCACAF.
“FFA provided all relevant information to that inquiry which in April 2013 concluded that the funds paid by FFA into CONCACAF’s bank account had been misappropriated by the former President of CONCACAF.
“FFA liaised with both CONCACAF and FIFA following the CONCACAF inquiry finding and was informed that Mr Garcia’s inquiry would now investigate the matter further. FFA provided information to Mr Garcia and co-operated fully with him.
“FFA is awaiting the outcome of Mr Garcia’s inquiry before taking further action.”
The FFA said it followed the guidelines requiring bidding nations to demonstrate a commitment to developing football as well as sustainable social and human development, adding that throughout the process Australia's activities were "transparent and proper".
"FFA sought to align its activities with the Australian Government’s broader international aid objectives and in areas of focus for government aid programs, namely Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean," the federation added.
“In each case, these activities were conducted with proper due diligence, including an assessment of the proposed project, recording and documentation.
“FFA’s bid expenditures were independently audited by Ernst & Young and the resulting unqualified audit report has been provided to both the Australian Government and Mr Garcia.”comments