FIFA faces more calls for transparency

Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:03pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA faced more calls for greater transparency on Friday when its own ethics investigator joined the critics and complained of a "disconnect" with the public.

Former United States attorney Michael Garcia, head of the ethics committee's investigatory chamber, said too little information was being given on cases such as the probe into the controversial bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Garcia's comments, at the World Summit on Ethics in Sports in Zurich, came after FIFA president Sepp Blatter had described his organization's ethics set-up as exemplary when he opened the event.

FIFA was also criticized by Sylvia Schenk, a former Olympic athlete representing anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

She said there was too much emphasis on punishing individuals rather than changing the federation's working culture.

Garcia recently completed a year-long investigation into allegations of corruption which surrounded the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively, in December 2010.

The report has been handed to FIFA's ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, but without being made public.

FIFA's code of ethics rules that the process must stay secret, a stance that has led to criticism for a lack of transparency. The ethics committee's independence has also been questioned.   Continued...

Michael J. Garcia, Chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee attends a news conference at the at the Home of FIFA in Zurich July 27, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer