ZURICH: Michael Garcia, FIFA’s independent ethics investigator, has completed his report into the 2028/2022 World Cup bid scandal and delivered to judge Hans-Joachim Eckert for verdicts writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Originally Garcia, a New York-based American lawyer, had set mid-July for report completion. However that deadline was set back, presumably while he and deputy Cornel Borbely, reviewed further evidence including double-checking allegations.
These would have included claims by The Sunday Times newspaper concerned the activities of Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari who was president of the Asian confederation at the time of the scandal-hit bid process. Bin Hammam was later banned for life over conflict of issues breaches.
Eckert, a German judge, is expected to need at least a month to review the report and reach and prepare his own conclusions.
A statement from the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee today said:
On Friday, September 5, 2014, Chairman Michael J. Garcia and Deputy Chairman Cornel Borbély of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee transmitted a 350-page “Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process” (the “Report”) to the Adjudicatory Chamber.
At the same time, Deputy Chairman Borbély delivered separate supplemental reports covering his review of activities of the United States and Russia bid teams.
Over the course of this year-long investigation, the Investigatory Chamber interviewed more than 75 witnesses and compiled a record that, in addition to audio recordings from interviews, includes more than 200,000 pages of relevant material.
The Report sets forth detailed factual findings; reaches conclusions concerning further action with respect to certain individuals; identifies issues to be referred to other FIFA committees; and makes recommendations for future bidding processes.
Pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics, the Adjudicatory Chamber will now make a final decision on the Report and supplemental reports, including publication.
Borbely, a Swiss lawyer, undertook the Russia and US interviews. Garcia recused himself from the US work because he is an American citizen while he could not visit Russia since he is subject to a ban issued by the Russian authorities over unconnected issues while he was a serving US Attorney.
FIFA has already changed the World Cup selection system. Up until the 2018/2o22 decision in December 2010 the executive committee alone was charged with the award. Subsequently it was decided that the exco should recommend a shortlist for a vote by the full FIFA Congress.
One intriguing note in the FIFA Ethics statement is that Eckert can, if he wishes, order publication of the full report.