BERLIN – After more than two and a half years, world football body FIFA on Tuesday published the full report of former investigator Michael Garcia that examines possible corruption around the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
The report was published on FIFA’s website after a decision by the ethics committee under its new leadership of Maria Claudia Rojas of the investigatory chamber and Vassilios Skouris of the adjudicatory chamber.
“For the sake of transparency, FIFA welcomes the news that this report has now been finally published,” a FIFA statement said.
FIFA’s decision to publish the report follows the document’s leak to Germany’s Bild tabloid.
Citing details of the 430-page report, Bild had reported that three FIFA executives were flown to Rio de Janeiro for a party in a private jet of Qatar’s federation ahead of the vote, and that 2 million dollars were paid to the 10-year-old daughter of a FIFA official. It also details the role of the Aspire sports academy in Doha.
Garcia, a former US attorney, was hired by FIFA to look into corruption allegations around the bid process. He submitted his report on all bidders in 2014 but FIFA’s leadership decided not to publish it.
Garcia resigned in December 2014 in protest over the decision not to publish the report, and also in disagreement with the summary compiled by FIFA’s leading judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, which cleared Qatar.
In its statement, FIFA said publication of the report had been called for several times by its president, Gianni Infantino.
Its publication had also been supported by the FIFA Council, the decision-making body which has replaced the executive committee, since its meeting in Mexico City in May 2016, FIFA said.
The former chairpersons of the ethics committee, Cornel Borbely and Eckert, “had always refused to publish it,” FIFA said.
The ethics committee is to meet in full next week for the first under the new chairpersons, when “it was already planned to use this opportunity to discuss the publication of the report.”
Now that the document has been “illegally leaked to a German newspaper” the new chairpersons requested its immediate publication “in order to avoid the dissemination of any misleading information.”
Peter Rossberg, the Bild reporter who reportedly had access to the document, said on his Facebook page there was “no proof that Russia 2018 or Qatar 2022 were bought.” But there “are so many strong indicators, especially concerning Qatar, that a different conclusion is hardly possible,” he added.
Rossberg called the Garcia report “a portrayal of a completely corrupt system” and said it had led to the arrests of many football officials as part of criminal investigations.
Russia and Qatar, who were awarded the 2018 and 2022 tournaments respectively on December 2, 2010 by FIFA’s executive committee, have both denied wrongdoing. -dpa