FIFA to publish World Cup corruption report
The world football governing body has agreed to release the report into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, in “appropriate” form.
In a surprising reversal from their previous position, FIFA have today announced that they will make public Michael Garcia’s report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. However, they will not do so until charges against three members of the executive committee have been dealt with by the ethics committee, and even then, will release the report in an “appropriate” — presumably considerably redacted — form.
President Sepp Blatter released a statement, in which he indicated that he had asked the committee to consider releasing the report, and that they agreed without need to vote on the matter:
The FIFA Executive Committee unanimously agreed to ask the Adjudicatory Chamber of the independent Ethics Committee to publish the report in an appropriate form once the ongoing procedures against individuals are concluded. I am pleased they have agreed. It has been a long process to arrive at this point and I understand the views of those who have been critical.
Now it is important that the work of the Ethics Committee continues and that any instances of wrongdoing are fully investigated and their perpetrators pursued and sanctioned. I have been informed that various cases against individuals for alleged rule violations have been opened by the investigatory chamber and are currently under review by the adjudicatory chamber.
However, Blatter also ruled out the possibility that the bidding process, which resulted in the World Cup being awarded to Russia for 2018 and then Qatar for 2022, could be revisited, or that the competitions could be taken away from those countries:
The report is about history and I am focused on the future. We will not revisit the 2018 and 2022 vote and a report by independent, external legal experts [...] supports the view that there are no legal grounds to revoke the Executive Committee’s decision on the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Finally, Blatter indicated that changes would be made to the bidding process for the 2026 competition:
We are already in the process of incorporating recommendations made by independent experts including the Ethics Committee for how the FIFA World Cup selection process can be improved so that everyone can be confident that the 2026 bidding process will be fair, ethical and open.
FIFA had initially indicated that Garcia’ full, 400-plus page report would not be released, preferring instead to disclose only a 40-page summary by Hans-Joachim Eckert. This summary was criticised heavily by Garcia, who yesterday resigned from his role with FIFA, citing a lack of leadership on ethics issues. Swiss lawyer Cornel Borbély, previously Garcia’s deputy, will take over as acting chairman of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee.