ZURICH: Only one of the nine 2018-2022 World Cups bids is given a clean bill of health by FIFA ethics judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert: the co-hosting bid by Belgium and Holland writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Whereas seven of the other bids ‘earn’ lengthy assessments and Portugal/Spain is not mentioned for reasons not stated, the Belgium/Holland bid is ticked off in a mere five lines which acknowledges its “full and valuable cooperation” with “witnesses made available for interviews, documents produced and follow-up requests accommodated.”

Hence the investigation “did not identify any issues with regard to the Belgium/Holland 2018 bid.”

The same could not be said for the others bids:

Australia . . . was picked up on “specific efforts to gain the support of a particular then member of the [exco]” and the role played by two independent consultants;

England . . . was queried over the manner and method of its ‘pursuit’ of then CONCACAF president Jack Warner and by the refusal of cooperation of the former FA chairman Lord David Triesman;

Japan . . . was criticised for the value of gifts to exco members and their wives;

Qatar . . . also prompted concerns over the roles of two consultants, the use of the Aspire Academy in the “orbit of the bid,” the sponsoring of the 2010 African confederation congress and certain actions of then Asian confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam;

Russia . . . was criticised for an all-round lack of co-operation wioth the investigation, particularly over the destruction of computerised documentation; also over uncorroborated indications of a vote-trading agreement with Japan;

South Korea . . . sparked concerns over the promotion among FIFA exco members, by the then Asian FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon, of a ‘Global Football Fund’;

United States . . . the report noted “certain discrepancies” in the documentation and contact reports submitted by the bid committee to FIFA and testimonies of US football officials.

In several instances the report noted its concern about the use of support for ‘development projects’ as a possible means to influencing voting.