Sepp Blatter exit may be entry for Australian bid
IS Australia back in the frame to host the 2022 World Cup after the stunning announcement by FIFA president Sepp Blatter to step down?
Just days after he was re-elected for a fifth term, the 79-year-old said it was clear "My mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody", adding the organisation would call an extraordinary congress meeting as soon as possible - probably within the next nine months - to elect a new president.
The early front runners would appear to be Jordan's Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, defeated by Blatter in last Friday's vote in Switzerland, and UEFA boss Michel Platini who urged Blatter to stand down ahead of the vote.
Apart from who will be the new president, the biggest unanswered question is whether Russia and Qatar will retain their hosting rights for the next two World Cups.
Serious questions remain about the bidding process for both tournaments following last week's arrest of 14 people, including seven FIFA officials, in connection with a United States investigation allegedly involving bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $A192 million over 24 years.
Swiss authorities have also launched a criminal investigation into how the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) World Cups were allocated.
England lost out to Russia in the bidding for the 2018 World Cup and Simon Johnson, who led England's bid, said he wanted all the facts around the bidding for both events to be made public.
"If everything was fair and objective and transparent then good, well done," he told BBC 5 Live.
"If it wasn't, if it was found there was improper behaviour in any way by any of the winning bidders, then FIFA must have a look at whether they should reopen the process."
With the preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup just weeks away, it is almost certainly too late to re-visit the host nation for that tournament.
But 2022 in Qatar is another matter.
The US finished second to the Middle East nation in that vote, with Australia knocked out in the first round.
The man who could hold significant sway in the event of a decision to hold a re-vote is former Kuwaiti oil magnate Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah.
Sheikh Ahmed was the power behind Asia's voting bloc which re-elected Blatter, and speculation suggests if he chose to run for the presidency he would have a serious chance of success.
He has already said if the tournament was moved from Qatar, he would prefer it to stay in the Middle East, but if that was not possible, then somewhere in Asia.
And that would clearly bring Australia right back into calculations.