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BBC report blasts FFA’s ‘dirty’ World Cup bid
British journalist Andrew Jennings expects the Australian Government to investigate Frank Lowy’s “dirty” dealings with taxpayer cash, slamming Australia’s World Cup bid was “stupid” and doomed to fail.
Jennings, the veteran reporter behind the BBC’s controversial recent Panorama documentary “Fifa’s Dirty Secrets”, says he’s “astounded” Lowy and his “con men” were ever granted public money for a hosting bid destined to faceplant in Zurich last week.
And, he says, the Westfield magnate and his accomplices must be exposed.
According to Jennings, a man who has made a career out of investigating corruption within Fifa and the International Olympic Committee, Lowy made a “major, major mistake” hiring Peter Hargitay – a former special advisor to Fifa president Sepp Blatter - and “well-known con man” Fedor Radmann to steer Australia’s 2022 bid.
“I was astounded that the Australian Government ever put in any money in the first place, for a minority sport with a campaign run by a man [Lowy] accused twice of major tax evasion. It’s a hoot,” Jennings told Fairfax Media.
“Lowy was making a lot of noise and had a lot of problems with that bid. You can’t just bluster about what you can do, you’ve got to show it. I think Lowy made a major, major mistake when he hired Peter Hargitay and Fedor Radmann.
“These are extremely dirty people, you only hire them if you want to do dirty things.
“They’re not strategists, Radmann’s a bagman and we made a fool of him at Panorama three years ago. It’s well-known in German-speaking countries that Radmann is not a man you would trust. He’s a con man.”
Since Australia’s 2022 hosting bid fell over – receiving just a single vote from Fifa’s 22-man executive committee – Hargitay has suggested the Australian bid was the victim of being ‘too clean’.
That’s utter nonsense, says Jennings.
“If you hire Radmann and Hargitay how can they [Australia] be running a clean bid? All they do is dirt. They’re not strategists, they’re bagmen. And Hargitay isn’t even a bagman, he pretends to be.
“All this crap from Hargitay about ‘we were too clean’. Oh please. I despair at Germany for not saying ‘Why don’t you pay your debts Mr Hargitay?’ ‘You’ve been running away from your debts for years.’
“I despair at sports reporters. Hargitay wouldn’t come and do a television programme with Panorama - not that I’ve asked him, I know he wouldn’t because he’d get crucified. ‘What about that funny shipping line you used to run in the Caribbean?’ ‘What about the Interpol warrant that had you arrested in Miami?’ He’s just a cheap-shot con artist.
“He only gets on SBS in Australia because of Les Murray who runs football there and has done a lot for football in Australia, and good luck to him. But he’s (Murray’s) massively out of his depth when he moves on from the performance of the game. He’s intimidated by Lowy and when he interviews Lowy he never asks him any questions.
“And Hargitay is one of these Hungarian-speaking group of three and all that’s happened is Australia’s been made to look stupid and the taxpayer’s out of pocket.
“I would hope the Australian Government, I don’t know if they have select committees as we have in England, but they should have some kind of Parliamentary investigation and they should call these people as witnesses on oath and ask them the questions.
“Australia didn’t have the phone numbers they needed (for a winning bid) and Lowy has basically said ‘Oh, it’s all my fault’. Well what does that mean? Why doesn’t he resign and give Australian tax payers their money back?”
Compiling the bids flaws, Jennings also said that the A-League’s well-publicised struggles and Australia’s mass irreverence for football were always going to be insurmountable stumbling blocks for the Australian bid to climb.
Quite simply, he says, Australia is not a football nation.
“In Australia football is a minority sport and they’ve had terrible problems trying to keep the A-League going,” he said.
“It’s in such a mess and that’s the fault of the fans, nobody else is to blame. Australians prefer other sports, it’s a minority sport. Whether it should ever have gone professional is questionable. It’s not a football nation.
“Good luck to them, they’ve got lots of good players, but until it gets bigger Australia’s got a problem.”
Winners of the 2022 bid, Qatar, also have “major issues” on their hands says Jennings – suggesting European club managers will be dead-set against sending extremely valuable players into such a tough physical environment for anything up to a month, adding "I was surprised that the greedy old men (FIFA) would take such a risk. Qatar’s desert, it’s hard to see how they can possibly stage a tournament in that temperature, it’s hard to see how they can provide 32 training grounds that are air-conditioned. They’ve got money to air condition stadia, but even that is questionable.
“I’d be very surprised if the managers in elite leagues, particularly Europe, will allow their players to leave to play in those conditions. These players are extremely valuable commodities and managers don’t like them playing international football anyway because it takes them away from their league. But they’ll put up with a World Cup held in reasonable conditions and you’ve got to go along with it.
“But I think there is going to be a growing debate about ‘you can’t have our players going to even train in such heat, never mind play in it.’
“And I think there are a lot of other issues, like we’ve seen the labour conditions in Dubai, it’s almost slave labour entrapment and I think we’re going to see that again in building all these facilities.
“It’s not being anti-Arab, it’s being anti-climate. The old men have pushed it too far this time. Only the people that don’t think about it say ‘Oh, it’s good that it’s going to Russia and to Qatar’ and they buy this nonsense from Blatter about a mission to take the game to new places.
“I think they’re going to have major problems.”
3rd December 2010 - QATAR WINS 2022 WORLD CUP BID
6th July 2010 - FFA SEEKS DAMAGES FROM THE AGE
1st July 2010 - BUCKLEY DEFENDS AUSTRALIA’S FIFA WORLD CUP BID
3rd February 2009 - AUSTRALIA ENTERS RACE FOR FIFA WORLD CUP
5th August 2008 - KEIRIN’S OLYMPIC INCLUSION INVESTIGATED BY BBC
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