Qatar $100MThe FFA report provides a window into the sordid process involved in securing a World Cup. For instance, the report explains in dry fashion that one of its major expenditures was to engage the services of the European Consultancy Network and Abold GmBH, as follows:
ECN is an international consulting firm which provides public relations and advisory services. The Chairman of ECN is Peter Hargitay, who was formerly employed as a special advisor to the FIFA President. ECN was engaged to provide advocacy services in support of the Bid. ECN was appointed based on their experience with FIFA, AFC and other relevant FIFA stakeholders.
ECN's primary role was to provide advice on the Bid's strategic campaign to the FFA Chairman and CEO and to advocate in support of FFA's Bid. This included actively engaging with key decision-makers and facilitating introductions and access to members of the FIFA Executive Committee for FFA...
Abold GmbH is a German company which provides design, marketing and communications and advisory services. Andreas Abold is CEO of Abold GmbH and has significant experience in FIFA World Cup bidding processes. Abold was engaged to provide services in connection with the Bid Book, Inspection Tour and Final Presentation. Abold was also contracted to provide advocacy services in support of the Bid. Details of these engagements are provided below at section 2.10.Sounds just fine, right? Well maybe until you learn about ECN and Abold. Here is what The Age reported last year:
It was agreed that Abold would also sub-contract Mr Fedor Radmann to deliver advocacy services. Mr Radmann had provided similar services in support of South Africa's bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Germany's bid to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Mr Radmann's role, in collaboration with ECN, was to provide advice on the Bid's strategic campaign to the FFA Chairman and CEO and to advocate in support of FFA's Bid. This included engaging with key decision-makers and facilitating introductions and access to members of the FIFA Executive Committee for FFA.
Both Mr Radmann and Mr Hargitay have colourful histories. Mr Radmann, who has worked as an aide to Mr Beckenbauer, has been implicated in:See also the SMH. Andrew Jennings, as usual on such matter, has much more here.
■ A scheme in 2000 to allegedly offer financial inducements to key FIFA Exco officials to get them to back Germany's bid to host the 2006 World Cup.
■ Conflict of interest scandals in 2003 that forced him to stand down from Germany's World Cup organising committee.
It is understood Australian bid officials sought to minimise any publicity about Mr Radmann's involvement in the bid.
Mr Hargitay's past includes being twice acquitted for cocaine trafficking in the 1990s and an alleged link to a securities fraud in Hungary, according to US court documents from 1997.
Mr Hargitay also boasts about daily meetings in South Africa with Asian Football Confederation boss and Exco member Mohammad bin Hammam.
Documents detail Mr Hargitay's role arranging meetings between overseas football officials and Mr Lowy and Australian politicians. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd met Mr Warner in Trinidad and Tobago last November.
Asked about the FFA's engagement of Mr Hargitay and Mr Radmann, Mr Buckley said Australia's bid required "the input and expertise of international consultants with specific experience in the area of bidding for major football events".
The Age also details how the FFA spent $50,000 on pearl necklaces and cufflinks for the FIFA Executive Committee and their wives. Despite this, Peter Hagirtay told Australian media that the bid failed because they "played it clean":
After helping Australia put its bid together, Hagirtay became a special advisor to Mohamed bin Hammam to assist his campaign for FIFA president. That didn't work out so well either.
The FFA says it wants to "draw a line" under the failed bid and move on. With ABC News Four Corners showing an investigation -- titled "Own Goal" -- into the bid process next Monday, I suspect that "drawing a line" under the experience may be a bit more difficult.