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, as well as the intriguing story that emerged afterwards
LONDON, Jan. 24, 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, as well as drawn 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 brings to light for the international football community, many startling new revelations:
- 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 bête-noir of FIFA and the IOC, Andrew Jennings that led to the initial prosecutions.
- Sepp Blatter told the author 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.
- 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.
- Australian payments to their three international consultants were likely to include payments to then FIFA Executive Committee member, Franz Beckenbauer.
- Blatter told the author that Australia was "never" going to win the bid as they were not competitive commercially.
- When Qatar realised they were not commercially competitive with the USA for 2022, they took steps to become so. Qatari corporations also promised additional payments to FIFA on broadcast rights and to double the value of any sponsorships on offer.
- 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. FIFA has implemented some reform but the reality is football, its structures, and its murky ecosystem need significant change. I hope this book, by shining more light on the FIFA way, encourages everyone to continue to demand the change we need.'
Damien Collins MP was also in attendance at the launch and issued his support for the ongoing need for change within football.
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.
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