FIFA’s chief ethics investigator has told the world governing body he will be able to complete his probe into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups by next week despite fresh allegations surrounding Qatar’s victory only surfacing at the weekend.
American attorney Michael Garcia, who met Qatar 2022 World Cup bid chiefs in Oman on Monday, said the investigation would conclude by June 9 and he would submit a report in mid-July.
It comes after the Sunday Times reported that it has gained access to millions of emails and documents which it alleges show former FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments to officials as part of a campaign to win support for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.
Sources close to FIFA say Garcia has also had access to the material which the Sunday Times has published for some time.
Qatar 2022 has distanced its bid from Bin Hammam, insisted there was no wrong-doing and that it would co-operate with Garcia’s investigation.
Garcia said in a statement: "After months of interviewing witnesses and gathering materials, we intend to complete that phase of our investigation by June 9, 2014, and to submit a report to the adjudicatory chamber approximately six weeks thereafter.
"The report will consider all evidence potentially related to the bidding process, including evidence collected from prior investigations."
Garcia will also be reporting on the 2018 bidding process which was won by Russia.
In 2010, Nigeria’s then FIFA member Amos Adamu told an undercover Sunday Times reporter that the Russians had offered him "co-operation" with building facilities and training players in Nigeria.
At the time, the head of the Russian bid, Alexei Sorokin, confirmed that Adamu had visited Moscow but said the visit was conducted "in conformity with FIFA rules" and had not involved the offer of any voting incentives.
Sorokin said in 2010 that "all bidders are likely to have made proposals to the various stakeholders" including "friendly matches, coaching academies, referees courses and infrastructural support" – but that did not imply any attempt to buy support.
Meanwhile, opposition among UEFA to Sepp Blatter standing for a fifth term as FIFA president may see rival candidates emerge from Europe.
German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach and Dutch FA president Michael van Praag have both been suggested as possible candidates in UEFA circles, as has Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the European Clubs’ Association and a fierce Blatter critic.
It is not expected that any rival would beat Blatter in an election, but a challenger would prevent him being elected unopposed. UEFA sources have played down suggestions that European associations will stage an organised protest against Blatter at next week’s FIFA congress in Sao Paulo.