FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia to appeal World Cup ruling

GENEVA —  

FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia will appeal ethics judge Joachim Eckert’s decision to close the investigation into how Russia and Qatar won World Cup hosting rights.

The 42-page report by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of FIFA’s independent ethics committee, cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing and confirmed them and Russia as the hosts for the 2022 and 2018 tournaments, stating any rule breaches by the bidding countries were "of very limited scope". FIFA has issued a statement welcoming the findings but now their own investigator has questioned the validity of the document which also criticized Russia and England’s bids for the 2018 tournament.

Garcia said in a statement: "Today’s decision by the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber’s report. I intend to appeal this decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee."

FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has re-iterated his belief that as much of the report as possible should be made public.

“In view of the fact Michael Garcia has now stated he is not happy with the findings and is to appeal. I await with interest to see what further disclosures will be made," he said. “I have always said as much of the report as is legally possible to publish should be made public.”

In the report, Russia were accused of failing to provide copies of all their emails from the bid organization on the basis their computer equipment has since been scrapped while the FA’s relationship with disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner was highlighted. Also, according to the report, the England bid team paid £35,000 for a gala dinner for Caribbean officials, provided "substantial assistance" for a training camp for an Under-20 Trinidad and Tobago team and secured a job in the UK for a Warner family friend.

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The report states: "Relevant occurrences included Mr Warner pressing, in 2009 and again in 2010, England’s bid team to help a person of interest to him find a part-time job in the UK. England 2018’s top officials in response not only provided the individual concerned with employment opportunities, but also kept Mr Warner apprised of their efforts as they solicited his support for the bid.

"The bid team often accommodated Mr Warner’s wishes, in apparent violation of bidding rules and the FIFA code of ethics. England’s response to Mr Warner’s – improper – demands, in at a minimum always seeking to satisfy them in some way, damaged the integrity of the ongoing bidding process. Yet, such damage was again of rather limited extent."

The report also says that Lord Triesman, who was England’s bid chairman at the time, would not co-operate with the investigation despite using Parliamentary privilege to make a number of allegations. The report also clears Qatar of involvement in any payments by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari former FIFA executive committee member who was banned for life by FIFA.

It says Bin Hammam was "distant" from the bid committee and that payments made to Warner and some African officials were connected to his bid to challenge Sepp Blatter for FIFA presidency.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.