ZURICH: FIFA president Sepp Blatter does not emerge unscathed from the bid scandal report delivered by ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The judge acknowledged the subsequent governance reforms and FIFA’s own cooperation with the investigation.

However, in a section headed Remarks to President Blatter, Eckert stated that “president Blatter’s responsibility for the myriad issues that developed over the course of the bidding process merits consideration.”

It also demanded that “as the leader of FIFA” Blatter should “address the report’s specific recommendations.”

The report acknowledged changes already enacted about the voting process for future World Cups which will involve the exco recommending a three-candidate shortlist to a vote by the full FIFA Congress.

But it recommended term limits for exco members, the prohibition of exco members participating in “venue-selection votes” involving their own nation, bans on their visits to bid nations and tighter control on gifts and the arrangement of national team friendly matches.

Development projects

Finally the report recommended far stricter efforts to ensure that development projects “are not used to improperly influence the bidding process.”

Eckert’s report began with a review of code of ethics and a description of the investigatory process, its remits and its limitations in not being a judicial process.

It followed up by reviewing the role and activities of FIFA and its executive committee, the World Cup bid process as it then was, the financing of bid activities, production of bid books and work of the evaluation commission which visited all contenders.

The report then ticked through a calendar of the bid process, the vote itself on December 2, 2010, and commented on the cooperation – or lack of it – from exco members.

All current exco members who were also members in 2010 had been interviewed or submitted answers to written questions though two only did so after initially refusing.

Interview refusals

Eleven former exco members from 2010 had been approached: five agreed to be interviewed, three refused or did not reply, two were beyond contact and one cooperated only after ethics proceedings had been started [Known to be Franz Beckenbauer –KR].

All nine bid teams had responded to the request for documents but “one specific bid team” [believed to be Portugal/Spain or Russia – KR] “was particularly uncooperative in responding.”

Eckert also referred to two whistleblowers. One had served for a spell on the Australian bid team and “provided some useful information” but “undermined its own reliability by speaking with the press about its communications with the [investigation].”

Pages 19-34 review, piece by piece, reviewed all the activities of the nine bids – with the notable exception of Portugal/Spain – and noted that the process of dual-bidding meant “voting procedures were susceptible to strategic voting (ie, to [exco members] casting ballots for specific bids for reasons other than merit).”

The system made the “voting process subject to collusion and vote-trading.”