“Our strategy for the vote was clear. To get five or six votes, to stay in it till the second round then follow that into the third round and maybe to the end," he said at a packed press conference today. 

“We genuinely believed we had those votes and we were entitled to be confident we had them. If we had our four or five we would’ve stayed in to the second round [ahead of Japan and Korea].

“We would’ve probably been ahead of the US and just on our own with Qatar – and that’s how we envisaged it.

“But an unheard of, unbelievable thing has happened. Qatar had 11 votes in the first round. Had they had one more vote, the game would’ve been over. I believe that’s never happened before. It always went to two or three rounds.

“I kind of believe we were targeted,” he added. “Those five or six votes we thought we had we were targeted not to get into the second round.

"Had we got into the second round, the result might have been different. I don’t think we would’ve won but I think nothing could’ve beaten 11 votes in the first round.”

Lowy added that he hasn’t spoken with AFC Head Mohammed bin Hamman since the vote.

“It was a shocking  result for all of us," he said. "But what do I think happened? I think some people genuinely intended to vote for us in the second round but never got the chance.

“And I think quite a number just outright lied to us. Whether they just wanted to be nice to me, I’m not quite sure.

“There are some of the five or six I’m talking about who came up to see me at the hotel who said, ‘you don’t need to come back and tell us how good you are, I know what I want to do’.”

Lowy didn’t name the members in question and bid consultant Peter Hargitay  has similarly not named those who deceived Lowy.

“The question is, did our advisers let us down?” asked Lowy. “I don’t believe so. They had access and connections no doubt. But they ended up as shocked as I was.

“We had one of the best two or three bids of the nine. I don’t know how they could refuse Australia. And also how could they refuse the US. I don’t think the last word has been heard on this process."

Lowy added: "It's better to have tried and failed then not to have tried at all."