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FIFA Publishes Bid Process Report after Leak to German Media

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Photo: FIFA.com

FIFA has published American lawyer Michael Garcia’s report into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after the document was leaked to German media.

It came after German newspaper Bild obtained a copy of the report from Garcia, who was asked to investigate possible corruption in how the two editions of the tournament were won by Russia and Qatar respectively.

The 430-page document, written in 2014, had never been made public until today.

A “legally appropriate” 42-page version was published by former Ethics Committee judge Hans-Joachim Eckert in December of the same year.

Garcia quit his role in December 2014 in protest at the report which was released as he claimed it contained “erroneous representations of the facts”.

In the 42-page report, Qatar were cleared of any wrongdoing in their successful bid for the 2022 tournament.

However, Qatar 2022 are now likely to face further questions after FIFA decided to publish the report in full.

In a statement, FIFA claim President Gianni Infantino called for the release of the document on “numerous occasions” but former chairpersons of the Ethics Committee, Cornel Borbély and Eckert, “refused” to do so.

The decision was taken by Investigatory Chamber head Maria Claudia Rojas and Adjudicatory Chamber counterpart Vassilios Skouris.

“The Ethics Committee will meet in its full composition under the new chairpersons for the first time next week, and it was already planned to use this opportunity to discuss the publication of the report,” FIFA’s statement read.

“However, as the document has been illegally leaked to a German newspaper, the new chairpersons have requested the immediate publication of the full report (including the reports on the Russian and US bid teams, which were conducted by Mr Borbély alone) in order to avoid the dissemination of any misleading information.”

Eckert claimed back in 2014 that publishing the full version of the report “would actually put the FIFA Ethics Committee and FIFA itself in a very difficult situation legally”.

Officials who wanted to bring the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar have been accused of “seeking to undermine the integrity of the bidding process” for the tournament, an extract from the report reads.

An extract relating to the Aspire Academy, Qatar’s high-performance sports facility opened in Doha in 2004, reads: “At a minimum, the targeting of Aspire-related resources to curry favor with Executive Committee members created the appearance of impropriety.

“Those actions served to undermine the integrity of the bidding process.”

It added that the Aspire Academy was implicated “in a decisive manner” in the “manipulation” of those who had the power to vote.

This was described as “potentially problematic facts and circumstances identified by the report regarding the Qatar 2022 bid” by Eckert in his summary, which “were, all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole”.

The report from Garcia, FIFA’s former chief investigator, also uncovered evidence that three members of the ruling Executive Committee had been flown to an event in Rio de Janeiro prior to the December 2010 vote on a private jet provided by the Qatar Football Association, according to Bild.

The 10-year-old daughter of a member of the FIFA Executive Committee also had a significant sum of money deposited into her savings account in the months after the controversial vote, where world football’s governing body announced the hosts of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

According to the Daily Telegraph in 2014, this was a total of $2 million.

The bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments remain the subject of criminal investigations in countries such as France and Switzerland, while the evidence provided by Garcia is thought to have led to the downfall of several FIFA officials during the organisation’s widespread corruption scandal.

Peter Rossberg, the Bild journalist who has the copy of the report, admitted that the document “does not provide proof that the World Cup was bought in 2018 or 2022”.

“No, the Garcia report lives on something else,” he wrote in a post on Facebook.

“It’s like a puzzle that only makes sense when all parts are put together.”

By Liam Morgan

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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