ZURICH: World federation FIFA has welcomed the conclusions of Hans-Joachim Eckert’s initial report on the World Cup bid scandal. A statement from FIFA said:

FIFA would firstly like to acknowledge the efforts made by the investigatory chamber and the adjudicatory chamber in the extensive work undertaken to date, as well as recognise the cooperation of all those witnesses who have so far assisted the independent Ethics Committee in establishing the facts in this case.

FIFA welcomes the fact that a degree of closure has been reached with the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber stating today that “the evaluation of the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups™ bidding process is closed for the FIFA Ethics Committee”. This comes after the chairman stated that “as regards the procedural framework for conducting bidding procedures related to awarding the hosts of the final competitions of FIFA World Cups™, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee did not find any violations or breaches of the relevant rules and regulations”.

As such, FIFA looks forward to continuing the preparations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, which are already well underway.

For the sake of further closure, FIFA supports the independent Ethics Committee with respect to their preparedness to potentially open future cases against officials based on the information obtained during this investigation.

Finally, FIFA acknowledges the recommendations mentioned in the statement with regard to improving the bidding process for future FIFA World Cups, but also notes the comments of the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber regarding the bidding process for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups as “well-thought, robust and professional”.

FIFA has already revised the host selection process for the FIFA World Cup as part of the 2011-2013 governance reform process, with the decision to be made in future by the FIFA Congress instead of the Executive Committee, while discussions for potential additional amendments are ongoing as part of an internal review for the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding process. The recommendations of the Ethics Committee will be carefully considered and assessed as part of this ongoing review.