LONDON (Reuters) - Michael Garcia, the chairman of the inquiry into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, called on soccer’s world governing body FIFA on Wednesday to make his report public.
In a statement, issued by his office in Chicago, Garcia, who submitted his 350-page report to German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert earlier this month, said FIFA should reconsider its position to keep it private.
While Garcia has led the investigation into alleged corruption surrounding the votes for the two tournaments, won by Russia and Qatar respectively, Eckert will decide what sanctions, if any, should be imposed.
In his statement Garcia said: ”Given the limited role Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert envisions for the Adjudicatory Chamber, I believe it is now necessary for the FIFA Executive Committee to authorize the appropriate publication of the Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process.
“Publication would be consistent with statements made by a number of Executive Committee members, with the view recently expressed by Independent Governance Committee Chair Mark Pieth, and with the goals of the reform process.”
Last week British Conservative MP Damian Collins said he had written to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office asking that it obtains a copy of the investigation which could lead to criminal charges.
Earlier on Wednesday, a statement from Eckert said he expected to give some indication publicly at the beginning of November of his position regarding Garcia’s findings, adding it was up to Garcia to decide whether any more specific proceedings should be started against individuals.
Eckert’s statement went on to quote article 36 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, which effectively says that only the final decision of the adjudicatory chamber may be made public -- meaning what is in the report stays behind closed doors.
Garcia’s statement on Wednesday comes the day before the start of a two-day FIFA executive committee meeting in Zurich.
In recent weeks FIFA executive committee members and vice-presidents Jim Boyce of Northern Ireland and Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands, as well as Moya Doidd of Australia and Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, have all called for Garcia’s full findings to be made public.
Reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Ken Ferris