MELBOURNE, Nov 29 (Reuters) - The “last word” has not been heard on FIFA’s controversial vote to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup, according to Australia’s newly re-elected soccer chief Frank Lowy, who suggested the tiny Gulf nation could yet be stripped of hosting rights for the tournament.
Qatar, where summer temperatures top 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), was the surprise winner of the vote by FIFA’s executive committee last December but has been dogged by allegations of corruption in the bidding process. Qatar’s bid team strongly deny any wrongdoing.
Football Federation Australia boss Lowy spearheaded Australia’s failed A$45 million ($44 million) bid for the 2022 World Cup, which drew only a single vote, sparking an angry backlash from local politicians and pundits.
”I don’t know whether you recall when I came back from that fateful day (after losing the bid) and I said ‘this is not the last word about awarding the World Cup’,“ Lowy told local reporters. ”Well it wasn’t the last word and the last word hasn’t been heard yet.
“Don’t ask me to elaborate because I don’t have a crystal ball ... but the media all over the world is talking about that, the awarding particularly of ‘22, the state of the -- all that stuff.”
“It’s not over. I don’t exactly know where it will bounce. The only thing I know is it’s not over yet.”
The octogenarian shopping centre tycoon has previously castigated the bidding process, saying that FIFA’s voting executive committee members lied to him outright about their support for Australia’s bid.
FIFA has banned a raft of soccer officials, including members of its voting executive committee, for corruption-related offences over the past year but has repeatedly denied any impropriety in awarding Qatar the 2022 tournament. ($1=$1.01 Australian) (Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Frank Pingue; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)