FIFA report on Qatar, Russia World Cups to get independent review
The FIFA Ethics Committee's report examining the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be reviewed by an official from FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee, FIFA announced Thursday.
The announcement comes after a series of meetings in Zurich between Ethics Committee head investigator Michael Garcia and Ethics Committee head adjudicator Hans-Joachim Eckert.
Last week, Eckert released his summary of Garcia's report on the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded in 2010 to Russia and Qatar, respectively. Eckert's summary cleared Russia and Qatar of serious misconduct, but almost immediately following the summary's release, Garcia said that his original report had been misconstrued and that key facts had been omitted.
Eckert has since pushed back, saying that he did not whitewash Garcia's investigation.
The original report, which is not public, will now be reviewed by FIFA Audit and Compliance chairman Domenico Scala, who has the ability to make the full report available to FIFA's executive committee. From Eckert and Garcia's joint statement:
Both chairmen agreed that it is of major importance that the FIFA executive committee has the information necessary to evaluate which steps are required based on the work done by the FIFA ethics committee.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has repeatedly insisted that the full report will not be made public, despite calls to publish the complete document from individuals like UEFA president Sepp Blatter and U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati.
Days after Eckert released his summary of the report, FIFA lodged a criminal complaint with Switzerland's attorney general against several individuals investigated by Garcia. The organization said that several improper transfers of assets had taken place in Switzerland, though no specifics were given.
Even if the full report is published or given to ExCo members, there is no guarantee FIFA's executive committee will take further action against Qatar and Russia.
Despite allegations that Qatar's bid was fueled by bribery, including alleged payments of millions of dollars by former soccer official Mohamed bin Hammam, SI.com reported in July that Garcia's investigation had not found any smoking guns. Russia claimed to investigators that computers storing relevant emails and documents had been destroyed.
- Stanley Kay