LONDON: Concerns over the process surrounding FIFA’s choice of Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are being revived by the Independent Governance Committee set up by the world federation last year to study structural reform after a stream of corruption scandals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
IGC member Lord Peter Goldsmith, a former UK Attorney General [the government’s senior law officer], is being reported by the BBC of expressing concern at the inadequacy of FIFA’s own inquiry into allegations of vote rigging.
The committee, chaired by the Swiss academic Mark Pieth, is due to present its report to the FIFA executive committee at the end of this month ahead of being set before FIFA Congress in Budapest in May.
Goldsmith said the committee had concluded that Fifa’s handling of the storm around the World Cup bidding contests was “unsatisfactory.”
He said: “We have spent a lot time looking at the allegations of past misconduct including the World Cup host selections. We have looked closely at the way allegations regarding those World Cup host selections have been dealt with and we have not been satisfied with the level of investigation which has taken place.
“We are concerned about two things – we need a system in place for the future with much stronger controls in a number of different areas. But we also need structures that will give people confidence in FIFA. And in order to do that it’s necessary to understand what may have gone wrong in the past.
“FIFA is not just a family of football or a regulator for the game. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which makes huge sums of money. We have come up with a list of recommendations for the executive committee and I hope that will be approved before then being passed to the FIFA congress.”
Host contracts with Russia and Qatar have been signed and work launched so the most likely outcome and proposals to change the construction of both the Ethics Committee and the World Cup host selection process as have been tabled already by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
In 2010, FIFA banned two members of its executive committee after an investigation into claims that they had sought cash in exchange for support of countries bidding to host the 2018 World Cup.
Last year, the former England 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman told a House of Commons select committee that four FIFA committee members approached him asking for various gifts in exchange for votes.
An email was also leaked – sent by FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke – which suggested that Qatar had “bought” the rights to host the 2022 World Cup.
Valcke subsequently issued a statement denying he had suggested it was bribery, saying instead that the country had “used its financial muscle to lobby for support.”
Further bribery allegations followed in last year’s presidential election which saw Blatter ultimately maintained for a further four years.
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