FRANK Lowy has taken full responsibility for Australia’s World Cup bid loss in Zurich and has hit back at criticism of bid consultants but revealed they were paid well.
“There have been some suggestions that our advisers should take the blame for our loss,” he told a packed press conference at FFA HQ today.
“This is not right. I lead the bid, I directed the bid and I take full responsibility.”
Lowy confirmed bid consultant Peter Hargitay’s firm had received around A $1m (600,000 pounds) for the two years. Fedor Radman was paid over two million Euros for the two years.
Hargitay had since been vocal in the media about the five or six nations who changed their vote on Australia – although he’s yet to name and shame those ExCo voting members.
Lowy explained that after the idea for a hosting bid came into his head at Germany 2006, and the wheels weren’t put into motion until the following year at the FIFA Congress in Sydney.
“We didn’t know very many people, and we needed some advisers. I have sought advice from the hierarchy of FIFA and some other people who should be our advisers. And they recommended Hargitay and Radman. A good combination.
“Of course there was a lot of talk about them one way or the other. There was a controversy about how much we paid them.
“But I know they’ve done a good job. Although they would’ve done a better job if we’d have won of course. But I don’t blame them for it.”
Lowy also defended the “clean” bid Australia ran saying it was the right thing to do even though some have suggested – as did Lowy – it may’ve cost the bid.
“But when we started the process I made it abundantly clear we would do nothing improper in its fullest sense.
“I wanted to get credit to Australia and not to get caught in some kind of shonky business. And I can assure you now we didn’t do anything that was improper. We are straight, we played it straight and we did.
“Did it cost us the bid? Maybe… I don’t know. I’m not sure.”