Report: Sepp Blatter shut down ExCo discussion of World Cup investigation
FIFA president Sepp Blatter prevented any meaningful discussion surrounding the release of the World Cup investigation report during the FIFA executive committee's meeting last month, multiple ExCo members told Sam Borden of The New York Times.
Following the meeting, Blatter told the media that no one raised the issue of releasing the report to the public, which means he was lying or misrepresenting what happened if what ExCo members told The New York Times is true.
According to the report, Blatter's rationale for shutting down discussion of the issue was that current ExCo members shouldn't have a right to make decisions regarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups since the investigation relates to the actions of previous ExCo members.
From the Times:
When told of Blatter’s comments, several ExCo members were furious — because Blatter had misrepresented what had happened and there had been a loud debate about releasing the report. FIFA’s director of communications assured those who complained that a public clarification would be made. No such clarification was issued.
In an interview last week, Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer and an ExCo member, said there was unquestionably a discussion about transparency.
“Numerous members of the ExCo, including me, have spoken passionately about the need for appropriate disclosure,” Gulati said. “So you can be sure there were plenty of strong views expressed.”
FIFA-appointed investigator and former U.S. attorney Michael Garcia completed his investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively, last month and submitted the report of his findings to FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert. The investigation was commissioned due to alleged corruption in the bidding process.
Multiple soccer personalities and administrators have called for the report to be made public in order to ensure transparency, including UEFA president and FIFA vice president Michel Platini, Gulati, former ExCo member Franz Beckenbauer and Garcia himself.
Blatter has maintained his opposition to releasing the report.
Eckert is due to release his findings in the spring as to whether the disciplinary process should proceed further. He is expected to give a preliminary report in November.
- Ben Estes