The FBI will continue to investigate the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, even though a FIFA judge has exonerated the nations of any wrongdoing in the bidding process.
FIFA made the announcement despite evidence showing cash payouts made to FIFA officials in exchange for voting in favor of the Qatar 2022 bid, arranged by ex FIFA official, Qatari businessman Mohammed Bin Hammam.
FIFA judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, gave the go ahead for the tournaments to be held after FIFA’s internal investigation report by its own investigator, former U.S. District Attorney, Michael Garcia, was concluded.
However, in an interesting twist, Garcia has accused Eckert of misrepresenting the conclusions made in his report and has announced he will appeal.
Garcia had this to say:
“Today’s decision by the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber’s report. I intend to appeal this decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee.”
The FBI have investigated the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups for three years, which includes the cooperation of former top FIFA official, Chuck Blazer. Blazer has provided documentation along with wiretap recordings of meetings held with other officials.
Law enforcement officials told CNN that this investigation could result in charges against leading FIFA officials.
The FBI are looking to get a copy of the Garcia report. FIFA has announced that the report cannot be released in full, choosing only to release a 42 page summary handpicked by FIFA officials.
Besides indicating that there will not be a reopening of the bidding process, Eckert had very strong words for England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid team.
It’s no coincidence being that England has voiced the strongest opposition against the FIFA selection process and English media have also published multiple investigative reports highlighting the mass corruption within the soccer’s governing body .
Eckert accused England unethical wrong doings in trying trying to woo Jack Warner.
Warner, a Trinidad and Tobago native, was the powerful FIFA official and head of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football ) who was banned from soccer all together after corruption and bribery charges came to the forefront in 2011.
Eckert accused the England bid team of hosting a gala dinner for the Caribbean Football Union in the amount of $ 55,000 and trying to find a part time job for an associate of Warner’s.
Former England 2018 chief operating officer Simon Johnson blasted Eckert’s assertions saying:
“It is a politically-motivated whitewash and I am not sure how we can have confidence in the outcome of this report. The headlines today end up being about the England bid when it should be how it has exonerated Qatar, which has overseen the deaths of hundreds of migrant workers and which has been described by the US government as funding terrorist organizations. In relation to England’s bid, I was satisfied at all times that we complied with the rules of the ethics code. We also gave full and transparent disclosure to the investigation which many others did not do.”
One of the countries that Johnson may have been alluding to is Russia . The Russian organizing committee maintains that computers the bid team had been using were leased and then returned to the owner, which were then destroyed.
The head of Russia’s organizing committee Alexei Sorokin commented regarding the allegations of a cover-up saying, “We handed over to the investigation everything that we could. You have to understand that four years had passed and some information is simply forgotten.”
Even though FIFA wants to end this matter and move on, the report provides more questions than answers.
And if the FBI have their say, the answers will eventually come.
Video: World Cup report: everything you need to know about Fifa’s investigation into bids – in 90 seconds – Telegraph As Qatar are cleared to host the 2022 World Cup following a probe by Fifa’s ethics committee, The Telegraph tells you all you need to know about the investigation in 90 seconds