Former Australian Football Federation member speaks up against FIFA corruption

25 September 2018

Robert Ryan

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UCCS hosted a speaking event on Sept. 25 with the author of “Whatever It Takes: the Inside Story of the FIFA Way,” Bonita Mersiades, where she discussed the contents of her recent book and spoke out about the environment and culture within the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

Mersiades was directly involved in Australia’s bid to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup Tournaments, which were eventually given to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The bidding process for the World Cup Tournament location begins years in advance.

During the summer of 2015, evidence was found that corruption through bribery and other means had affected the outcome of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. The resulting investigation led to the firings of many FIFA executives, including FIFA President Sepp Blatter, and even the incarceration of others.

Until her firing in Jan. 2010, Mersiades worked as the Head of Corporate and Public Affairs with Football Federation Australia, where she directly experienced the corruption that unfolded at FIFA.

Following Australia’s failed 2022 bid, Mersiades was quoted as saying, “so many things I knew, had observed, heard, and read led me to the inevitable conclusion that hosting the World Cup would never be earned on merit.”

Since her book was published, Mersiades has devoted her time to giving speeches, raising awareness through her book and “taking on the might of world soccer.”

Mersiades published a story in Football Today where she explained why she wrote her book.

“I saw, heard, read and observed enough to realise that something wasn’t right,” said Mersiades in her article. “What the book does is shine a light – from the inside and outside – on how so many people running football care more about how they can benefit from the game, rather than what’s in the best interests of the game.”

Mersiades has said that all proceeds that she would receive from her book will be donated to the Pararoos Football Club.

“I want people to know what happened from inside a bidding team,” said Mersidades on her book, “Not just from desk research from people with little real insight or knowledge of football. I want FIFA to finally and properly address what went on with this contest.”

This event was a rare occurrence for UCCS, and attracted students who were interested in the topic of FIFA corruption.