Coca-Cola
Australia has given up hope of convincing world football’s governing body FIFA
to reroute the world tour of the World Cup trophy to include Australia. But
at least the soft drink brand, which sponsors the tour and recently announced a
half-billion US dollar sponsorship with FIFA spanning until 2022, got stuck in
and gave it a red hot go.

“As
you probably know the trophy tour was arranged before we (the Socceroos)
qualified for the World Cup,” Sarah Kelly, spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Australia
told Crikey. “We
have looked into the possibility of the tour coming to Australia and given that
the tour has been locked in for some time, it’s unfortunately just not
feasible.”

But
over at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, it was a case of why let the facts get in the
way of a good story after Channel Seven’s Sunrise program kicked off talk of
Australia being snubbed in the tour.

“We’ve been spat on by unruly Uruguayans, condemned to the
footballing backwater and had a Yank label us easy-beats,” the Tele’s article
blurted. “Just when we thought the football world could muster no greater
insult, the game’s governing body has snubbed Australia from its inaugural tour
of the World Cup trophy.”

But the truth, just as the Coke spokeswoman
said, is that these sorts of things are planned well in advance and the trophy
tour was put together well before the Socceroos’ magnificent elimination of
Uruguay last month to progress to the World Cup finals.

That doesn’t explain why Australia was
still the only continent to miss out on the tour route. Next
month, the 18-carat gold trophy will herald Germany 2006 by visiting every
football-playing continent on Earth, except Australia.

But FIFA’s track record on matters to do
with Oceania may provide some clues – including the famous decision to reverse
a decree pushed by FIFA president Sep Blatter that Oceania would have a whole
spot to itself in the 32-team World Cup finals.

Lucky Australia’s jumped ship to join Asia
now. Crikey will be keeping a close watch on the flood of benefits that come as
a result of this move.