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Saturday, May 21, 2011
Arbib plays down World Cup 2022 bid hopes
Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib has played down hopes of Australia getting a second chance to bid for World Cup 2022 after FIFA investigates corruption allegations.
FIFA's ethics committee is probing claims that executive members were paid bribes of $US1.5 million ($A1.39 million) during the bidding process for the 2022 tournament.
Qatar went on to win the December ballot, with Australia's $45 million bid achieving just one vote.
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The FIFA investigation has sparked belief that the bidding process could be rerun.
However, Senator Arbib urged caution.
"Certainly I think everybody is very cautious about what lies ahead," he told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
"We're not getting our hopes up that there will be a decision to have a new ballot.
"I don't think we should get our hopes up yet.
"We need to have a chance for these allegations to be heard."
Senator Arbib described FIFA's investigation as a "positive step" and said its ethics committee would convene on June 1.
"Australia would have put on the best ever World Cup, there's no doubt about it," he continued.
"We have the infrastructure, we have the people and certainly there was great disappointment across the country when we weren't successful."
A resubmission of Australia's bid should not cost any additional money, Senator Arbib added.
"It shouldn't cost us any extra money... all the work has been done in terms of scoping the stadium, all the specifications, the technical work is complete."
A British House of Commons committee first heard allegations that two African FIFA executive committee members were bribed to vote for Qatar.
The Gulf nation later issued a statement denying "serious and baseless" allegations and saying they will "remain unproven because they are false".
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