Fifa investigate Australia World Cup bid claims

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The Independent Online

FIFA have confirmed they are investigating allegations that Australian World Cup bid officials handed out jewellery and paid travel costs for a Trinidad team in order to win votes.

The allegations in the Sydney Morning Telegraph quotes documents from Football Federation Australia that also details payments of up to £6.4million to consultants if the bid is successful.



A FIFA statement today said: "FIFA can confirm that it is looking into this matter. For the time being, FIFA cannot disclose any other details or make any further comment."



The most damaging allegations concern gifts of pearl necklaces for the wives of FIFA executive committee members, who will in December decide the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and that they funded the travel costs of Trinidad and Tobago's under-20 team to fly to Cyprus - one of FIFA's most powerful figures, Jack Warner, is from the Caribbean country.



The FFA say the necklaces and cufflinks were given at a dinner before formal bidding had started.



FFA chairman Ben Buckley said: "It is a widely accepted, common practice, among governments, many business and sporting organisations to provide symbolic gifts, to visiting international delegations."



FIFA's bidding rules allows gifts of "symbolic or incidental value" but last year the England 2018 bid had to backtrack on giving out designer handbags.



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