THE Fifa ethics chief who spent 18 months investigating the controversial bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has reiterated his call for his report to be published in full.
Michael Garcia (pic), the former New York district attorney who is head of the investigatory arm of Fifaâ€™s ethics committee, called on the executive committee to intervene and ensure the report was made public. Garcia, who sought to interview all 22 executive committee members who made the contentious decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar but found some who are no longer in football beyond his reach, delivered his report this month.
But Hans-Joachim Eckert, the head of the adjudicatory arm of the ethics committee, said last week that only four people had seen Garciaâ€™s initial report and that it could be next spring before he was ready to pass judgment. He has said that only his findings would be published and not Garciaâ€™s report.
Eckert has also said he will only judge individuals, and leave the hosting status of Russia and Qatar to Fifa.
Garciaâ€™s 350-page report is believed to recommend sanctions against several individuals involved in the chaotic and convoluted bidding process, but Fifa insiders believe there is not likely to be enough evidence to strip Qatar of the 2022 tournament.
â€œGiven the limited role Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert envisions for the Adjudicatory Chamber, I believe it is now necessary for the Fifa Executive Committee to authorise the appropriate publication of the Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 Fifa World Cup Bidding Process,â€ said Garcia in a statement that makes clear his frustration with Eckert.
â€œPublication would be consistent wth 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.â€
The Fifa vice president, Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, this week became the latest Fifa executive committee member to call for more transparency.
â€œThis will only help the football community move ahead in reforming our institutions in the best interest of the sport,â€ he said.
â€œThe entire football family as well as its sponsors and those who follow the game worldwide have a full right to know the contents of the report in the spirit of complete openness.â€
US Soccer president Sunil Gulati, who also sits on Fifaâ€™s executive committee, has also promised to push for greater transparency.
â€œIf weâ€™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,â€ he told the New York Times. â€œThat doesnâ€™t mean only the executive committee. It has to be more.â€
Others, including the British Fifa vice president Jim Boyce and Concacaf president Jeffrey Webb, have also called for the documents and evidence to be published in full.
Fifaâ€™s executive committee meets later this week in Zurich. Sepp Blatter, who will stand for a fifth term as president next spring, said last week the organisation had an â€œexemplaryâ€ reputation in ethics. – The Independent