By Peter FitzSimons, Sydney Morning Herald
Well knock me over with a feather.
The decision to award Qatar the World Cup in 2022 was corrupt, you say?
How do you know when Sepp Blatter is telling porkies and covering up FIFA atrocities? His lips are moving. So when even he says the whole thing was a “mistake”, we can take it as given. Seriously, just how badly must something stink to high heaven when not even Sepp Blatter will defend it?
And this week, of course, extraordinary detail emerged as to just how far that corruption went, with Britain’s Sunday Times devoting the first 11 pages of its latest edition to illustrating how erstwhile FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam, of Qatar, paid millions of dollars in a straight exchange for votes.
And, yes, Qatar hotly denies it, but lately that is what they do best.
The point is there will be more this Sunday and likely for many Sundays to come, as the paper claims to have “millions of documents” to support the claims.
And while the money was paid to support a “groundswell” for Qatar votes, there is now such a groundswell the other way, to revoke the decision on the grounds of both sanity and justice, that FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has already spoken up to say he supports rerunning the vote to decide the host of the 2022 World Cup.
If that happens, how many would support Qatar this time? You, Michel Platini, for the French Football Federation? Really? Are you not embarrassed enough already?
So if it is open slather again, the question is should Australia go after it again? You can call me a soccer nutter if you like, but I say, yes, albeit with some strict conditions.
If it gets to the stage of holding talks on it, lets make a few things clear from the start.
Firstly, and most importantly, we are only interested in holding a World Cup like mother used to make. Simple; no bells and whistles; an emphasis on sport and sport only.
Right now, the image of FIFA is of a moribund, corrupt organisation, drowning in pools of its own gravy. Could there be anything better to help them arrest that image than by granting it to us?
See, when it comes to holding huge sporting events, we do have the climate, the infrastructure and the on-site crowds you need, in a fabulously multicultural community that will turn out in force no matter which country is playing. (Get Greece, if they qualify, to play their opponents in Melbourne, and then watch the stampede to the ticket office.)
But, and here’s a big but, we can’t afford the railway tracks for your gravy train to roll into town. Members of FIFA are most welcome to come, but we won’t be paying a brass razoo to move you around or accommodate you amid the gilded grandeur you’re used to. So either you pay out of the billions you’re making, or we’re happy to put you out on billets to families.
See, we blew $43 million of taxpayers’ money on the last bid, much of which appears to have disappeared into the ether, and for our trouble we got one stinking vote.
So we are not going to play that game any more.
If we bid again, we can simply point to the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, the best organised, most joyous event since Jesus won the Jerusalem Cup, besting Moses and Lazarus for joint second, and Peter, who tripped over and came fourth, my son. But I digress.
That should do it. No nonsense. No glad-handing. No taxpayer money. No campaign. You want us, or you don’t.
Good luck in Qatar, a decision that will live in infamy.
Peter FitzSimons is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.