FOR THE RECORD-“I want to make it clear that our commitment to ethical standards is stronger than ever” Statement from FIFA President Sepp Blatter on the 2018/2022 bid process investigation.
Based on the recommendation from Domenico Scala, the independent Audit and Compliance Committee Chairman, I have asked the FIFA Executive Committee to vote in favor of the publication of the 2018/2022 inquiry report by the investigatory chamber. The FIFA Executive Committee unanimously agreed to ask the Adjudicatory Chamber of the independent Ethics Committee to publish the report in an appropriate form once the ongoing procedures against individuals are concluded. I am pleased they have agreed. It has been a long process to arrive at this point and I understand the views of those who have been critical.
We have always been determined that the truth should be known. That is, after all, why we set up an independent Ethics Committee with an investigatory chamber that has all necessary means to undertake investigations on its own initiative. At the same time we also need to remember that while the report is complete, the investigations flowing from it are not. We must ensure that we do not jeopardize those investigations and the proceedings against various individuals already initiated by the independent Ethics Committee. Participants in the investigation also deserve to have their rights respected.
It is clear that while a summary of the report was issued, the publication of this report has become a barrier to rebuilding public confidence and trust in FIFA. Part of this is due to the fact that we have been deliberate in the way that we have moved through the process. We need to ensure that we respect the rules of our organization and that we do not breach confidentiality in a way that will prevent people from speaking out in the future.
Now it is important that the work of the Ethics Committee continues and that any instances of wrongdoing are fully investigated and their perpetrators pursued and sanctioned. I have been informed that various cases against individuals for alleged rule violations have been opened by the investigatory chamber and are currently under review by the adjudicatory chamber. The organization fully supports the rigorous pursuit of these cases. And, while FIFA as an organization does not have prosecutorial powers, we have provided information and the full report from Mr. Garcia to the Swiss General Attorney’s Office and have pledged our cooperation.
But the report is about history and I am focused on the future. We will not revisit the 2018 and 2022 vote and a report by independent, external legal experts commissioned by Mr. Scala supports the view that there are no legal grounds to revoke the Executive Committee’s decision on the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. We are already in the process of incorporating recommendations made by independent experts including the Ethics Committee for how the FIFA World Cup selection process can be improved so that everyone can be confident that the 2026 bidding process will be fair, ethical and open.
The work over the past two years of the investigatory committee led by Mr. Garcia has played a valuable role in ensuring that FIFA rules are upheld and has resulted in a series of sanctions against individuals. Although we are disappointed that our work with Mr. Garcia has ended this way, I want to make it clear that our commitment to ethical standards is stronger than ever. As such I am pleased that the FIFA Executive Committee today appointed Cornel Borbély as acting Chairman of the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee. Mr. Borbély will be responsible for leading the ongoing procedures and ensuring that they are pursued to the fullest extent.
Mr. Borbély is an outstanding lawyer, an expert in forensics who also plays a key legal role in the Swiss military. He has worked closely with Michael Garcia as his deputy and his appointment ensures consistency and quality in the investigatory chamber’s ongoing proceedings. Mr. Borbély serves pending the election of a new chairman, which will take place at the FIFA Congress’s next session on 29 May 2015 in Zurich.
This article was republished with permission from the original author and publisher, Karl-Heinz Huba.