U.S. Soccer's Sunil Gulati to push for release of Garcia investigative report

Wednesday September 24th, 2014

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said he will push for the release of an investigative report on potential corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups at the FIFA executive committee's upcoming meeting in Zurich.

The investigation and report, which is reportedly 350 pages long and contains 200,000 pages of "relevant material", was handled by former United States attorney Michael Garcia and submitted to the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee earlier this month. The meeting begins on Thursday.

Only four people are thought to have seen the report, according to The New York Times. Those people are Garcia, his deputy, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee Hans-Joachim Eckert, and Eckert's deputy. 

“If we’re going to truly support the idea of transparency and change within FIFA, it has to be made public in the truest meaning of the word,” Gulati said, according to The New York Times. “That doesn’t mean only to the executive committee. It has to be more.”

He added: “Right now, the whole story is not about what’s in the report but whether it should be made public. And that isn’t ideal for anyone.”

According to the Times, Eckert reportedly released a statement saying the entire report would not be made public -- only the adjudicatory chamber's impressions of the report. Garcia followed by releasing his own statement asking for the entire report to be released.

Other soccer officials are believed to share Gulati's conviction that the report should be made public, including CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb and FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein.

Garcia said in a statement that he wants the entire report to be released.

• With Women's World Cup on horizon, sexism remains part of FIFA culture

“Given the limited role Mr. Hans-Joachim Eckert envisions for the Adjudicatory Chamber, I believe it is now necessary for the FIFA Executive Committee to authorize the appropriate publication of the Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process,” Garcia said. “Publication would be consistent with statements made by a number of Executive Committee members, with the view recently expressed by Independent Governance Committee Chair Mark Pieth, and with the goals of the reform process.”

The investigation deals with the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively. 

The selection of Qatar as 2022 host has been called into question for a number of reasons, including the country's extreme summer heat, mistreatment of migrant workers and alleged bribery during the bid process. Earlier this week, Theo Zwanziger, a member of the executive committee, said he thought the 2022 tournament would be moved from Qatar.

- Chris Johnson
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