FIFA rejects Garcia appeal against Eckert statement

Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:47am EST
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia's appeal against the statement issued by ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert on his investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process has been ruled inadmissible.

FIFA also said on Tuesday there were no grounds for opening disciplinary proceedings against Eckert following complaints from whistleblowers who gave evidence to the investigation that their evidence had been revealed.

World soccer's governing body was plunged into chaos last month when Eckert said there were no grounds to reopen the controversial bidding process which led to Russia being given the 2018 finals and Qatar the 2022 tournament.

Garcia, who led the investigation over an 18-month period, immediately appealed against Eckert's statement, saying it contained misrepresentations.

But FIFA's appeals committee has ruled that Eckert's statement did not constitute a decision and is therefore neither legally binding nor appealable.

"Further, the FIFA Appeal Committee reiterated that the FIFA code of ethics (FCE) is designed to sanction individuals in cases in which the code has been violated," FIFA said.

"The said statement is not addressed to one or several specific individual(s) and as such does not contain any sanctions in accordance with art. 30 of the FCE." Garcia has said that more of his report should be made public. He met with Eckert and they agreed the report should be given a further review.

They also decided that Domenico Scala, head of FIFA's audit and compliance committee, should decide how much of Garcia's report will be presented to FIFA's executive committee, whose next meeting is in Marrakech on Friday.   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