World football’s governing body FIFA has lodged a criminal complaint over the “possible misconduct of individual persons” in connection with the awarding of hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Last Thursday FIFA said there were no grounds to reopen the controversial bidding processes, following a long-awaited report compiled by chairman of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee Michael Garcia.
However, FIFA President Sepp Blatter confirmed that, on the recommendation of FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, it was “his duty” to lodge a complaint to the Swiss courts.
Former US attorney Garcia said last week that the governing body had misrepresented his findings, plunging FIFA into a fresh crisis after continued misgivings about how Russia and Qatar were handed the next two World Cups.
Eckert, at the time, ruled that any improprieties uncovered by Garcia were too minor to require new bidding.
Answering questions on FIFA’s own website, Blatter said on Tuesday: “I lodged the criminal complaint upon the recommendation of Judge Eckert.
“I cannot, however, comment on any possible criminal offences. I am not a lawyer. I also was not the addressee of the investigatory report, which I have never seen.
“However, given Judge Eckert’s recommendation, it was my duty – as the President of FIFA – to lodge the complaint.”
Rejecting calls to publish Garcia’s report in full, Blatter said FIFA had no authority to do that.
“If FIFA were to publish the report, we would be violating our own association law as well as state law.”