FIFA Investigator Report on World Cup Bidding Corruption Won't Go Public

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Michael Garcia (Getty)
(WFI) FIFA confirms to INSIDER that the report by its chief investigator Michael Garcia into possible ethics violations in the corruption-tainted World Cup bidding process will not be made public.

Former US attorney Michael Garcia has spent more than 18 months investigating claims of ethics breaches and vote trading in the process of awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

He began compiling his report in the second week of June. It was due to be submitted to the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee by the end of July.

But both FIFA and Garcia's law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP were initially unable to confirm to INSIDER if the report was complete and if it would be delivered on time. "We have no update concerning the delivery of the report of the investigatory chamber of the independent ethics committee,” a FIFA spokesman told INSIDER.

“Please note that in accordance with art 28 and 36 of the FIFA Code of Ethics the report will be handed over to the adjudicatory chamber but only the final decision of the adjudicatory chamber may be made public,” he added.

FIFA later on Monday issued a statement from the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee. “We expect to deliver our report to the adjudicatory chamber by the first week of September 2014," it said.

The fact that even Garcia's recommendations for sanctions, which could include stripping Qatar of the World Cup, won't see the light of day opens FIFA and president Sepp Blatter up to more criticism about lack of transparency in the process.

At the FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo last month, Garcia said he and his ethics investigator colleague had interviewed every bid team and all FIFA ExCo members who cast votes in the secret ballot, or attempted to do so, and reviewed “tens of thousands” of documents.

“No one should assume the information we have or do not have,” he said, adding that the “vast majority” material that formed part of the Sunday Times’ fresh allegations of corruption involving Qatar 2022 and former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam “has been available to us for some time”. Qatar World Cup organisers deny all allegations of wrongdoing.

“It’s impossible to know if new information will emerge in the future. We are always willing to listen to what people have to say and to anything presented to us,” Garcia’s said last month.

“We will follow our process through. We believe we will produce a report that is comprehensive and fair to all parties,” he added.

Garcia’s report will go directly to FIFA’s ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckhart, who is charged with reviewing the recommendations and handing down any sanctions for individuals or bidding nations. He will need time to examine the report and is not expected to make his judgements public until August or September.

Last month, Russia 2018 World Cup chief executive Alexey Sorokin told INSIDER in Sao Paulo that he was confident Garcia would clear Russia of any ethics violations linked to the World Cup bidding process.

“We are quite confident about the outcome. We know that our bid was transparent, clean. We are not alarmed or concerned or anything,” he said.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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