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FIFA prosecutor to deliver World Cup scandal file in March

Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP

Michael Garcia's investigations unit is expected to bring charges relating to match-fixing allegations.

FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia should submit his report on a decade-old World Cup kickbacks scandal by March, and will later focus on allegations of corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests, football's governing body said on Thursday.

FIFA asked Garcia last year to study the 2001 collapse of marketing agency ISL and recommend if formal cases should be opened against football officials for receiving improper payments.

"Garcia will detail his findings in a final report to FIFA's Executive Committee,'' at a March 20-21 meeting in Zurich, FIFA said in a statement.

Confederation presidents Nicolas Leoz of South America and Africa's Issa Hayatou were named in court documents for receiving cash payments in the 1990s. Leoz reportedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hayatou has been reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee for taking payments in 1995 worth around $20,000 which he said were for the African governing body.

The ISL scandal exposed former FIFA president Joao Havelange and his former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira for receiving kickbacks worth millions of dollars from World Cup broadcasting deals.

Teixeira resigned as head of the 2014 World Cup organizing committee before Swiss court documents confirmed his role in the scandal.

Havelange resigned his 48-year membership of the IOC in December 2011, days before it was expected to discipline him for ethics violations.

FIFA published updates Thursday on the work of Garcia and German judge Joachim Eckert, who were appointed last July to head a revamped ethics court. It was modernized after FIFA struggled to deal with a series of corruption allegations during the FIFA presidential election in 2011 and the World Cup bidding races decided in 2010.

"We intend to conduct a thorough review of those (World Cup) allegations, including the evidentiary basis for and credibility of any allegations of individual misconduct,'' FIFA said.

Garcia's investigations unit is expected to bring charges relating to match-fixing allegations. FIFA and South Africa's football federation has been examining friendly matches suspected of being fixed just before the country hosted the 2010 World Cup.

A whistleblower hotline for the public to report suspected corruption in football will open next month.

Garcia will have "direct access to complaints of Code of Ethics violations, and is authorized to respond with any action he deems appropriate,'' FIFA said.

Garcia and Eckert also helped create an online ethics training course to use "as part of settlements with individuals who may have committed minor or unintentional violations.''

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