Al Arabiya Exclusive: ‘If Australia paid $41m and lost, how much did Qatar pay?’

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A World Cup insider who worked in a senior position in Australia's failed 2022 bid, speaking to Al Arabiya recently provided information about the deal that led Qatar to win the World Cup 2022.

“Qatar and the BeIn sport channel have paid money to get the World Cup tournament, and not to put television rights into competition and FIFA should be questioned about that,” Mersiades told Al Arabiya.

“The Emir of Qatar offered to Blatter that he would prevent (the Qatari) Bin Hammam from bidding for the FIFA presidency in return that Qatar won't fail in its bid to organize the World Cup, according to what I have been told by Blatter."

“The Emir also asked Blatter about the cost that should be paid for his country's World Cup, and Australia tried to persuade Qatar to withdraw from the World Cup,” she said.

Mersiades said she had set out to investigate what Qatar had done to win the tournament. According to her, Australia paid a whopping US$41 million and only managed to get a single vote.

These were the kind of monetary inducements and deals that were offered by the Australain side as part of efforts to persuade FIFA's ExCo “to give us the tournament.”

Mersiades goes on adds:“Knowing what we had done; the deals we made, the money we gave away to secure votes … but also in direct payments to corrupt (former executive committee member) Jack Warner — it begged the question of what had the winners actually done to win so spectacularly.”

Last month she had also written in the UK newspaper Daily Mail in detail about the inside goings on in Fifa in the months preceding the vote for the 2022 World Cup.

Controversial winner

Qatar, a country with a negligible soccer background or infrastructure, was a controversial winner of the right to host the 2022 World Cup, with explosive claims that Warner was paid $1.2 million by Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari former FIFA vice-president to one of his fellow board members, in July 2011.

She writes that she was “sacked” from her job on the bid team 10 months before the vote, “because I saw, heard, read and observed enough to realize that something wasn't right.”

She called on FIFA to apologize to both her and Phaedra Almajid, the “Qatar whistleblower who, like me, has been shamefully treated by the power elite of football,” she wrote.

In another piece written in Football Today, Mersiades expressed anger at former FIFA ethics chief Michael Garcia who investigated Qatar's World Cup bid and had spoken to her.

“As it turned out, everything Garcia and I talked about, he found to be spot-on. Everything. The role of our consultants, the relationship with Franz Beckenbauer (one of the 22 members of the FIFA executive committee), the deal with the German FA ahead of bidding, the money to Oceania, Asia, the redoubtable Jack Warner of the Caribbean, and potentially Africa.

“Yet he also said my evidence could not be relied upon unless he could corroborate it (which is sort of the bleeding obvious anyway). Curiously, he also said that the other person - also a woman - branded as a 'whistleblower' was "not credible". Why did Garcia disparage and discredit two women, both of whom worked on bids, who dared to speak out and speak up?

“The other thing was that I read an explanation for how Qatar won – by paying members of the Asian and African football confederations. The only problem was these people didn’t even have a vote. It didn’t make a lot of sense,” Mersiades wrote.

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