How FIFA dismissed the Australian 2022 World Cup

Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game

Bonita Mersiades. Photo: Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game. 


By Play the Game
A new book details how the Australian government spent millions in an attempt to win the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup, but ultimately attained just one out of 22 votes.

In 2010, Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup when Sepp Blatter, then FIFA President, announced the 22 committee members had voted to award the 2022 event to the small desert country. As such, Qatar had beaten of rival bids from USA, Japan, South Korea and Australia – the latter was eliminated at the first round of voting.

A new book by Bonita Mersiades, shows how Australia’s bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was exposed as a joke to members of the FIFA executive voting committee. According to Mersiades, her book, entitled Whatever It Takes - the Inside Story of the FIFA Way, is the first ‘insider’ account of what it was like to work on a World Cup bid.

“As is well-documented, I was actually sacked from my job as a senior executive of FFA and the Australian bid team ten months before the vote. I saw, heard, read and observed enough to realise that something wasn’t right,” Mersiades writes in a statement published on Football Today.

“My enemies – principally, our three international consultants whose dubious modus operandi I constantly questioned – will say I was sacked because I was incompetent. Yet only weeks before my boss, Ben Buckley, gave me a big performance bonus for a job well done,” she adds.

Mersiades, who conducted a confessional interview with Blatter about the bidding process, writes in the book that Blatter claims he knew Qatar would win before the vote for 2022 was even conducted.

Moreover, Blatter claims, in the book, that former German footballer, Franz Beckenbauer would not have publicly supported Australia’s bid unless he was payed to do so.

“The book doesn't have all the answers - but it does put many things in context, and has some revelations,” Mersiades writes in her statement.

“What the book does is shine a light – from the inside and outside - on how so many people running football care more about how they can benefit from the game, rather than what’s in the best interests of the game,” she adds.

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