The complete story is entitled, "Fifa investigates claims of Australian World Cup 2022 bid gifts." and goes into some details about the Australian bid committee showering FIFA delegates, and apparently their wives with gifts.
So let's face it, the World Cup is big business and there is a lot of money that changes hands. One figure of note: FIFA reportedly made approximately $3.2 Billion in ad revenue alone in the 2010 World Cup (source). So it is not a surprise that prospective host countries do everything they can to lure the Cup to their home soil. I write this without holding judgement on what actually happened as frankly, I don't know. This could be a simple gesture of good will. Heck, I have received gifts from teams after a match. It is a cultural thing, and should not be seen as anything other than a genuine token of appreciation. In fact in some situations, like in a locker room after a match, a referee shunning a small token of appreciation from a team is very bad form. So for me, no flies on Australia, yet, for offering small tokens of appreciation.
Now, pearl necklaces and handbags for the wives of FIFA officials may indeed breach that "small gift" criteria and may get the folks down under in some hot water. FIFA has launched another one of its famous investigations into the matter. I can't wait to see the letter they send Football Australia.
My laugh out loud moment was when I read the following from the article:
During a rocky period for the English bid last year, it faced criticism for giving the wives of each of the 24 Fifa executive committee members a Mulberry handbag.
The controversial Fifa vice-president Jack Warner returned his, claiming to have been "insulted" by the English bid team.