Hours after a FIFA judge cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption in their winning World Cup bids, the American who led the investigation said he would appeal the decision to close the case because it was based on “materially incomplete and erroneous” information.
In what appears to be an open act of conflict within FIFA, prosecutor Michael Garcia, who wanted his report to be made public, criticised ethics judge Joachim Eckert’s 42-page report clearing the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.
Eckert’s findings, which were released Thursday morning, were based on Garcia’s investigation. Despite finding wrongdoing among the 11 bidding nations, Eckert said the integrity of the December 2010 votes was not affected.
“Today’s decision by (Eckert) contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the Investigatory Chamber’s report,” Garcia said in a statement released by his law firm.
“I intend to appeal this decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee.”
Earlier, Eckert formally ended a probe into the bidding contests, almost four years after the vote by the governing body’s scandal-tainted executive committee. No proof was found of bribes or voting pacts.
FIFA looks forward to continuing the preparations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, which are already well under way
“The evaluation of the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cups bidding process is closed for the FIFA Ethics Committee,” the German judge wrote in a statement released by FIFA.
“In particular, the effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it,” he summarised.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter had earlier said that the criticism against Qatar was racist while the 2022 organising committee maintained they had followed the “highest ethical standards” during the process.
The report did criticise England’s bid for the 2018 tournament for “inappropriate requests” from former CONCACAF President Jack Warner, a FIFA powerbroker at the time, in what it said was “an apparent violation of bidding rules”.
Meanwhile, a report published by Amnesty International said on Wednesday that 2022 World Cup host nation is lagging behind on addressing concerns about the abuse of migrant workers six months after it laid out plans for labour reforms.
“The legacy of the FIFA 2022 World Cup would be the hundreds of thousands of workers who were exploited to make it happen,” the group said in the 12-page report.
In May, Qatari officials announced plans for new legislation that could eventually end the controversial sponsorship system in its current form.