Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Socceroos fire the first shot

FFA have requested FIFA provide compensation for the $43m spent on Australia's World Cup bid

Billionaire Frank Lowy has taken aim at the world’s most powerful sporting body, FIFA over Australia’s $43m World Cup bid embarrassment.

Lowy, the Football Federation Australia chairman, is still smarting from the embarrassment of Australia’s $43m bid earning just one vote when oil-rich Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

Yesterday he called on the sport’s governing body to pay compensation to Australia and other bidders after FIFA president’s stunning admission that it was "a mistake" to send the 2022 tournament to the
Arab state given the 50-degree summer days. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Fox Sports.
Kicking Back Comments: The fact that the FFA is seeking compensation is not surprising ... a little early as EXCOM has not taken the vote yet to change the dates, so the issue is legally not ripe yet, but that is not the point Mr. Lowy is making. It is a warning shot.

Now what was surprising to me was FIFA's response to the proposed challenge. In their own words:

However, a FIFA spokeswoman has responded to the news by telling the FFA to forget about the compensation claim. 

"As part of the bidding documents all bidders, including the FA Australia, accepted that the format and dates of the staging of the Fifa World Cup and Fifa Confederations Cup, though initially expected to be in June/July, remains subject to the final decision of the Fifa Organising Committee," she said.

I'm really surprised FIFA is going to hang their hat on the "in principle" argument. Even if the contract did not state specific dates (which from previous reporting would not seem to be the case), such a shift fundamentally changes the nature of the tournament, and in essence is not the same product counties bid on.

I hope FIFA starts walking that one back as I expect it is a dead bang loser ... even in front of the notorious inept CAS, who I would imagine would hear the bulk of the issue on moving the World Cup.

By the way, the other day I commented on our representative on EXCOM, Sunil Gulati and how he was certainly well poised to serve our interests. Well, in fine fashion, he has been "stirring the pot" at FIFA over the date change, but like any other masterful politician, is crafting his arguments out of matter other than sour grapes (for the US losing bid).

If there is a revote, I have to imagine the US, and England, are the ones in best position to take the hosting duties. Hat tip to Mr. Gulati,

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