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FIFA Whistleblower Publishes Inside Story About FIFA World Cup Bids 2018 and 2022

2018-01-25 02:04
-Former senior executive with the Australian World Cup bid team, Bonita Mersiades, launches 'Whatever It Takes' the first book written by an insider that exposes what went on from inside a bid team, and how Australian football failed by playing the FIFA way

LONDON, Jan. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A former senior executive with the Australian World Cup bid team, Bonita Mersiades, has launched 'Whatever It Takes', the first book written by someone from within one of the bid teams.


The book lifts the lid on how a bid for the world's single biggest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup works from the inside -- an inside that involves what is recognised today as the murky goings-on of world football administration.

It's the inside story of a losing bid team and the characters around it, as well as a look at how the 'FIFA Way' -- a term dubbed by former US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch -- works. 

Part memoir, part extensive research and investigation, Mersiades has spoken to many leading figures in world football including former FIFA President, Sepp Blatter and members of other competing bid teams and investigators. The book also draws on her own experience, recollections and material. 

The book dives deep into the murky role of consultants and officials. It is a first hand, personal account of the author's two years working on the Australian bid, and her efforts over the last eight years to further uncover the truth about this aspect of the not so 'beautiful game'.

The book explores the way in which the FFA used public taxpayers money for the bid to engage consultants that used public funds, how the Australian Government was hoodwinked about the chances of the Australian bid, and the lengths the FFA were willing to go to secure a single vote for the bid.  

The book brings to light for the Australian and international football community, many startling new revelations:

  • Blatter told the author that Australia was "never" going to win the bid as they were not competitive commercially. 
  • Australian payments to their three international consultants were likely to include payments to then FIFA Executive Committee member, Franz Beckenbauer.
  • When Australia crashed-out of the bid race after spending almost $50 million of Australian taxpayers' money, the billionaire head of Australia's FA, Frank Lowy, spent millions of dollars trying to get the World Cup taken off Qatar.  This involved high-level investigators, including the former deputy director of operations of the CIA. 
  • FIFA's own investigator Michael Garcia, after an investigation of all bidders that spanned more than two years, was most critical of Australia's bid and Australia's consultants. 
  • Australia wasted its money. Not only did FIFA CEO Jerome Valcke tell the Australian bid team in July 2009 that it was not competitive commercially, Sepp Blatter admitted to the author that Australia was "never" going to win the bid.
  • The US bid, the Qatar bid and Christopher Steele knew that Australia wasn't in the race from June 2010. But the day the vote was announced, the Australian bid thought they had seven votes going into the first round of voting. 
  • If Australia had won, a compensation package totaling $100 million was promised to the other three football codes played in Australia, effectively wiping-out any potential profit from hosting the event. 
  • Sepp Blatter said he and the former Emir of Qatar had an arrangement that the Qatar 2022 World Cup would be safe if Mohamed Bin Hammam did not run for the FIFA Presidency.
  • Blatter, who supported the US bid for the 2022 World Cup – but who claims he was Australia's single vote in the first round - called President Obama to let him know that key votes controlled by Michel Platini had shifted to Qatar.
  • Former British spook, and compiler of the Trump Russian dossier, Christopher Steele was the lynchpin between the FBI and the IRS and award-winning British author, and bete-noir of FIFA and the IOC, Andrew Jennings that led to the initial prosecutions.  
  • The former Chairman of the English FA, Lord David Triesman, wanted to withdraw from the bidding race when he held serious doubts about the likelihood of England winning, but was talked into remaining by the then FIFA CEO, Jerome Valcke, as he realised an England World Cup would be commercially successful. 

Speaking at the launch in London today, Lord Triesman, former head of the English FA and Chairman of the England 2018 bid until his departure in May 2010, said:

"We still have problems with corruption in world football and FIFA looks as secretive as it has ever been. The culture of corruption goes back at least 45 years, with people profiting significantly out of a sport that has the potential to generate vast sums of money. Whenever someone is asked to look into any allegations in detail, within a short period of time they are either fired, or someone else is given the responsibility. If we don't achieve a fundamental change in culture at FIFA, then we will never see meaningful reform. There hasn't been the will from governments to resolve this matter, and we should not expect football authorities to do it to themselves - that's turkeys voting for Christmas. Both the author and I know first-hand that speaking out can be a painful process, but all football fans owe Bonita a debt of gratitude for working hard to unearth the truth and keep this important matter on the agenda." 

Bonita Mersiades, the author, said: 

'I wrote the first draft of this book seven years ago partly as a cathartic exercise to work through what I had experienced. I am passionate about football and care for its future. But I believe football will only  advance if it learns to deal with its past. A key part of that is what went on in the World Cup bidding process. While Russia and Qatar emerged as winners, all of us -- bidders, football officials, players, fans, broadcasters and sponsors -- before and after, were diminished by what happened. Football deserves better, especially Australian football. FIFA has implemented some reform at an international level, and are now focused on Australian football. but the reality is football, its structures, and its murky ecosystem need significant change. I hope this book helps shine a light on the FIFA way and how the FFA got caught up in it. Australian football deserves better and it needs to change.' 

All of the author's proceeds from the book will go towards the Pararoos, Australia's Paralympic football team. 

'Whatever It Takes' is published by Powderhouse Press and is available in good bookstores and online.

About the Author

Bonita Mersiades is a former senior executive with Football Federation Australia, which included the Australian bid team, until she was sacked in controversial circumstances ten months before the vote. She had worked previously in football in other roles including operations manager of the men's national team, the Socceroos. She also had an extensive career in government, including a decade as a senior executive principally in health and education.

About the Publisher

Powderhouse Press is a small US publisher focused on the genre of anti-corruption and whistleblowing. 

The book is available to buy online at the below link

Additional Materials

A series of clips suitable for online streaming, broadcast use, and radio are contained in the below links. The clips contain interviews with the author, Bonita Mersiades, and Lord Triesman.

Quality suitable for online streaming

Clips suitable for broadcast 

Audio files for radio use

Video -

Source: Powderhouse Press

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