FIFA to release investigators findings

FIFA (AFP)
FIFA (AFP)

Cape Town - FIFA's executive committee has voted to allow publication of former ethics investigator Michael Garcia's investigation into the bidding process for the 2018/2022 World Cups, president Sepp Blatter said in a statement on Friday.

Soccer's governing body had been under increasing pressure to publish a redacted version of Garcia's report to help shed light on what happened during the turbulent process for the tournaments awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

In the statement FIFA said it had asked the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee to publish the report in "an appropriate form" once ongoing procedures against individuals are concluded.

"I am pleased they have agreed. It has been a long process to arrive at this point and I understand the views of those who have been critical," Blatter said.

"We have always been determined that the truth should be known. That is, after all, why we set up an independent Ethics Committee with an investigatory chamber that has all necessary means to undertake investigations on its own initiative."

The decision followed a presentation by Domenico Scala, head of FIFA's audit and compliance committee and one of only six people to have seen the report.

Garcia, who said himself that the report should be published, spent 18 months investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding process, during which he interviewed 75 witnesses.

In November, FIFA's ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert issued a 42-page summary based on Garcia's report which identified cases of "inappropriate conduct" in a number of the bids but said there was not enough evidence to justify re-opening the bidding process.

In Friday's statement, Blatter reiterated that the bidding process for the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would not be re-opened.

"We will not revisit the 2018 and 2022 vote and a report by independent, external legal experts commissioned by Mr. Scala supports the view that there are no legal grounds to revoke the Executive Committee's decision on the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups," he said.

Garcia, who immediately appealed against the summary of his investigation, saying it contained misrepresentations, resigned on Wednesday, one day after a FIFA tribunal ruled his application to be inadmissable.

FIFA had previously said it could not publich the 430-page report for legal reasons.

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