FIFA to reopen World Cup corruption probe on Russia, Qatar bids

BY foxsports • November 20, 2014


FIFA will further review the 2018 and 2022 World Cup corruption investigation, putting the status of hosts Russia and Qatar back in question.

The head of FIFA's auditing committee will examine the full 430-page confidential report by American prosecutor Michael Garcia into impropriety during the bid process, reviving a probe which seemed closed one week ago. Domenico Scala, a Swiss businessman who serves as the soccer body's audit panel chairman, will then decide whether to turn over any evidence to FIFA's executive committee.

The decision to hand over the documents to Scala came a week after FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert ruled that the case against Russia and Qatar was closed.

Within hours of the German judge's decision being published, Garcia appealed to FIFA, objecting to ''numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations'' of his work.

That led to a meeting between Eckert and Garcia in Zurich on Thursday.

The pair ''agreed that it is of major importance that the FIFA Executive Committee has the information necessary to evaluate which steps are required based on the work done by the FIFA Ethics Committee,'' they said in the statement.

Last Thursday, Eckert's summary of Garcia's report judged that any corrupt acts in campaigns dogged by allegations of bribery, favor-seeking and collusion did not justify re-opening the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

FIFA at first welcomed a ''degree of closure'' in Eckert's ruling that corruption across the 11-nation bidding contests was ''of very limited scope.''

However, FIFA stepped up scrutiny of the case Tuesday by filing a criminal complaint with Switzerland's attorney general against possible law-breaking by unnamed individuals.

Swiss federal prosecutors are now studying Garcia's investigation report, which is sealed by strict confidentiality rules in FIFA's code of ethics.

Garcia's own prosecutions of FIFA voters and bid staffers will not be affected by parallel work being done by the Swiss federal agency, nor Scala, according to Thursday's statement.

Scala will be stepping into the heart of the corruption case after more than two years monitoring FIFA's billion-dollar annual revenue.

He has evaluated deals with FIFA commercial partners, blocked grants to FIFA member federations and stopped bonuses to executive committee members, while also doubling their annual stipend to a reported $200,000.