FIFA's chief investigator escalates World Cup inquiry

Tue Oct 1, 2013 2:37pm EDT
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By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - FIFA's chief investigator is escalating his inquiry into the voting procedures for the 2018 and 2022 soccer World Cups which have been dogged by controversy.

Michael Garcia, a former New York attorney and head of the FIFA ethics committee's investigative unit, will visit every country directly involved in the voting for the finals awarded to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022.

The voting procedure for 2022 has never escaped widespread allegations of corruption or rule-breaking. FIFA will this week consider whether to move the tournament to a new date, away from the fierce heat of a Qatari summer.

"I will conduct interviews in various places and I hope that those who have some information, even if they are not obliged to give me some, will agree to talk to me," Garcia told weekly magazine France Football on Tuesday.

"My goal is to submit a report that covers the World Cup bidding and awarding process."

A source close to the bidding process told Reuters: "It is very well known in FIFA circles what went on as far as Qatar was concerned.

"There was undoubted political interference, which is expressly forbidden by FIFA, and votes promised to one country were later switched to Qatar.

"The rules were ignored and now FIFA is left with a huge problem to clean up," added the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.   Continued...

Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup bid team display zero carbon, solar powered cooling technology for open-air stadiums to FIFA inspectors during the FIFA Inspection Visit for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid at a showcase stadium in Doha September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad