Football Federation Australia has been assisting FIFA's investigation into alleged corruption surrounding Qatar's bid for the 2022 World Cup hosting rights for the past few months and may push to host the tournament if voting is reopened.
FFA chief executive David Gallop said Australia re-entering the race for the 2022 World Cup remained a possibility following explosive allegations that Qatar was awarded the hosting rights on the back of more than $5 million worth of bribes and gifts.
Senior FIFA administrators, pundits and former players are calling for Qatar's bid to be annulled as a result of the alleged widespread corruption surrounding their bid said to be orchestrated by former FIFA vice-president and Qatari national, Mohamed bin Hammam.
British newspaper The Sunday Times published documents revealing bin Hammam covertly paid several African officials up to $US5 million in cash through his private company to secure support for his home nation's World Cup bid.
Documents and personal emails alleging cash payments, lavish gifts and trips offered by bin Hammam were published online, sparking widespread calls for Qatar to be removed as 2022 hosts and voting reopened. Gallop told Melbourne radio station, SEN, that in the event of the 2022 World Cup hosting rights be reopened, Australia may submit its bid again.
"It's a serious development, they're serious allegations and we're looking to see what the response to that will be. It's too early to say whether that reopens the door of anything that happened a few years ago in terms of Australia's position but it's a bit of a 'watch this space' at this stage," Gallop told SEN.
The FFA has been involved for some time in FIFA's integrity investigation into corruption providing documents and interviews to the chief investigator of FIFA ethics committee, American lawyer Michael Garcia. The allegations will be raised at the June 10 FIFA congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
"We've been heavily involved in this now for many months in terms of the investigation that Mr Garcia is carrying out," Gallop said. "I'm sure when we're in Brazil for the FIFA congress then we'll find out more information but don't be under any illusion that we haven't been involved in all of this for some time now. We've been involved in interviews, production of documents and also following carefully what's been happening away from Australia. We've got people who've been involved for some time now."
Gallop's comments follow waves of support from Britain In favour of Australia hosting the 2022 World Cup as former England star and broadcaster Gary Lineker believes Australia remains the strongest candidate.
“I think FIFA need another vote. The best candidate for 2022, given 2018 is in Europe was, and still is, Australia,” Lineker said.
Senior football administrators are calling for Qatar to be stripped of their hosting rights and the voting process reopened. FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce is in favour of holding a revote if the allegations of corruption against bin Hammam and the Qatari bid are proved.
"If Garcia's report comes up and his recommendations are that wrongdoing happened for that vote for the 2022 World Cup, I certainly as a member of the executive [committee] would have absolutely no problem whatsoever if the recommendation was for a revote," Boyce told BBC radio.
The chairman of the England FA, Greg Dyke, slammed the credentials of the bid process which was embroiled in corruption scandals before a single vote was cast, beginning with the suspension of executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Tamarii over allegations of accepting bribes.
"I think if it is shown it was a corrupt system and that the people who won used bribes and other influences to get the vote, then of course it has got to be done again," Dyke told BBC Sport.