FFA denies World Cup corruption claims

Football Federation Australia (FFA) strongly denied its 2022 World Cup bid was shrouded in corruption.

FIFA's Ethics Committee released a report on Thursday - published by chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert - controversially clearing hosts Qatar (2022) and Russia (2018) of any wrongdoing amid claims of corruption in the bidding process, despite opposition from lead investigator Michael Garcia.

Australia, who failed in their bid to host the 2022 World Cup having received just one vote after spending almost 46 million in Australian dollars, were also mentioned unfavourably in the report.

In the 42-page summary of the report, Australia had "certain devices employed by the bid team and its consultants were seemingly aimed at hiding ties with individuals close to the executive committee member concerned while taking advantage of their influence over the member to further the bid strategy.

"According to the report, there have been several different occurrences involving the Australia 2022 bid that displayed potentially problematic connections between financial and other support for 'football development' and the bidding process."

But the FFA hit back on Friday, with chairman Frank Lowy claiming they conducted a clean bid to host the showpiece tournament.

"FFA did its best to run a competitive and compliant bid and to do it wherever possible hand-in-hand with the Australian government, with the customary government oversight," Lowy in a statement.

"We also involved, wherever possible, other bodies such as UNICEF and FIFA itself. In addition, 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."

The FFA were accused of making payments to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), but Lowy insists the governing body was encouraged to support the game in developing countries.

"It's clear that this led us to be misled in particular relating to a payment made to CONCACAF which was later revealed to have been misappropriated," said Lowy.

"In hindsight, there are many things we might have done differently and we remain disappointed by our experience of the World Cup bidding process."