ZURICH: FIFA reform leader Mark Pieth has confirmed the fury among ‘Latin language’ power brokers at their inquisition over the Qatar World Cup award writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Last month this writer was among three media outlets to reveal a failed ‘gunpowder plot’ within the executive committee to blow up ethics investigator Michael Garcia in his tracks.
The United States attorney, appointed as FIFA’s independent prosecutor in 2012, had just questioned exco members involved in the 2018/2022 World Cup awards to Russia and Qatar in December 2010.
A scandal-enshrouded process was enmeshed in a series of allegations including speculation about a voting pact between Qatar’s triumphant 2022 bid and leaders of the unsuccessful Spain/Portugal bid for 2018.
Pieth expressed his knowledge of the backlash against Garcia in an interview with the Neue Zurcher Zeitung. Above all he demanded a final report which is thorough and conclusive over the allegations of corruption.
He said: “Various people complained after the interrogations. They cursed – mostly in Latin languages. But they cannot change anything because the FIFA executive does not have the power to stop the ethics committee.
“If something should emerge, such as corruption in the awards, the consequences will be legally complex. You can’t just say: It was fixed so the World Cup must be re-awarded.’ It’s not as easy as that.
“In our final report we say that it would be up to the FIFA leadership to deal with the consequences. You cannot simply turn the page.”
‘Latin language’ speakers who survive in the exco from the infamous vote in December 2010 include vice-presidents Julio Grondona from Argentina and Angel Maria Villar from Spain plus Rafael Salguero from Guatemala (Spanish) plus Frenchman Michel Platini, Belgian Michel D’Hooghe as well as Francophone Africans Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of Ivory Coast (French).
FIFA president Sepp Blatter numbers the Swiss French, German and Italian along with English and Spanish among his linguistic collection; secretary-general Jerome Valcke, who wrote a controversial email about Qatar’s bid expenditure, is French.
Valcke said in Rio de Janeiro last week that he hoped Garcia’s report would be published soon so that FIFA could move on with its World Cup preparatory work beyond the imminent finals in Brazil.
Intriguingly, in an answer to a separate question, Pieth ascribed his worst time during the reform work as having been subjected to some “coarse swearing – in Spanish.”