England rejects FIFA criticism of World Cup bid
The English Football Association took issue with a FIFA ethics judge after he said that the country damaged the integrity of the World Cup bidding process.
England received only two votes in the bidding for the 2018 World Cup, which was eventually won by Russia.
FIFA released a 42-page summary of the full report by the FIFA ethics committee after they investigated how Russia and Qatar (2022) won their respective World Cup bids.
Germany’s Hans-Joachim Eckert, who is the FIFA ethics committee adjudicatory chamber chairman, said that England tried to get former CONCACAF president Jack Warner on their side, including attempting to schedule a friendly match between England and Warner’s home country of Trinidad and Tobago.
"England 2018's response showed a willingness, time and again, to meet such expectation, thereby damaging the image of FIFA and the bidding process," Eckert said. Eckert added that an ethics investigation could be started against "specific individuals," but did not name anyone.
FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia said that he will will appeal Eckert's decision to close the investigation, saying the report "contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed" in his own report.
England’s FA said they were not given any notice to the release of the report prior to its publication.
"We do not accept any criticism regarding the integrity of England's bid or any of the individuals involved," the English FA said in a statement. "We conducted a transparent bid and, as the report demonstrates with its reference to the England bid team's 'full and valuable cooperation."
The Association also said that they conducted a “transparent bid,” and “willingly complied with the investigation.”
“We maintain that transparency and cooperation around this entire process from all involved is crucial to its credibility,” the association said.
- Scooby Axson