An ongoing investigation into corruption claims surrounding the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bids will not result in stripping Russia or Qatar of their hosting rights, the judge in charge of the examination has said.
German Hans-Joachim Eckert said he only has the power to sanction individuals who are found guilty of bribery or corruption, and that any decision involving the host countries themselves would be up to FIFA’s ruling executive committee or its congress of 209 federations, BBC reports.
Eckert, who heads the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee, has been tasked with reviewing a thick dossier compiled by ethics investigator Michael Garcia.
Details of Garcia’s report have been tightly controlled, and only four people have seen the files so far, Eckert said. That includes himself, Garcia and their deputies, Australian judge Alan Sullivan and Swiss prosecutor Cornel Borbely.
“We are not allowed to tell anybody anything. It’s our duty not to tell. I know the interests of the public but please, we have to do our work, we are bound by the code of ethics and later the decision will be made public,” Eckert said.
According to Reuters, the judge suggested that some details of the report would be made public in his final judgment, but not the whole report:
“You will know, but you will also have to respect that the persons who are potentially affected deserve to be protected in their privacy, so we have to presume people are not guilty until the end of the proceedings,” he said.
The secret nature of the report and the ethics committee’s limited powers of censure have spurred a new round of criticism of FIFA, the world’s governing football body.
The UK’s Sunday Times newspaper, which operates a paywall, is running a number of articles today claiming that FIFA’s enquiry is a “cover-up” and it has “locked away” the report.
In June, the Sunday Times ran a series of stories claiming Qatar bribed officials to win votes, and said it had “millions of documents” to support its allegations.
For over a year, US attorney Michael Garcia led a team examining corruption allegations over the 2018 and 2022 bidding processes.
The Sunday Times’ documents were reviewed by Garcia and his team as part of a report they submitted to Eckert earlier this month.
Speaking at the World Summit for Ethics in Sport at FIFA’s headquarters in Geneva on Friday, Eckert said he hoped to finish reading Garcia’s report by the end of October or early November. He would then start drafting his judgment, which should be ready around March 2015.
“There will be some decisions, maybe in spring, and then we will go on,” Reuters quotes Eckert as saying.
March 2015 will be a crucial time for FIFA, as the governing body of football is also expected to decide on a final date for Qatar to host the 2022 tournament by then.
While Qatar bid for and was awarded the rights to host the World Cup on the basis of a summer tournament, a task force is now exploring winter dates due to the nation’s extreme heat in June/July.
January/February 2022 is being re-considered as a potential slot, after it was rejected over fears it would clash with the Winter Olympics, which take place then.
November/December 2022 is the other possible winter option.
While disappointing for many, Eckert’s statements do not come as a surprise to many in the football community, as FIFA’s code of conduct states that much of the investigatory process must remain secret.
Article 36 of the code states that all “facts of the case, contents of the investigations and deliberations and decisions” should remain confidential.
It added that there is no obligation for the details of the report to be publicly revealed: “Only the final decisions already notified to the addressees may be made public.”
Additionally, under article 78 of the code, there is no obligation for the ethics committee to reveal the grounds for any decision it has made, unless one of the parties requests it.
This is starting to get boring…
Great. More months and months of these protests then?
Meh, anyone can protest for anything in the UK. Personally, I don’t see how this minority friends of Israel Group will be able to influence Fifa.
Throw enough mud and some of it will eventually stick. I wouldn’t wish to be on the wrong side of a Pro-Israeli lobby protest.
They are a bunch of powerless clowns, they can’t do much but put on a circus show.
Eckert said he hoped to finish reading Garcia’s report by the end of October or early November. He would then start drafting his judgment, which should be ready around March 2015. Does he have to learn to read and write first? All the time delaying the process until it becomes too late for anyone to do anything at all. It’s hard to believe that FIFA could sink lower than Samaranch’s Olympic Committee but they’ve managed it.
I’m glad you reported this. FIFA is digusting in its corruption and its attitude to the people that enjoy football.
It is a joke you have an investigation into ethics and possible corruption and then you don’t publish it. What do you have to hide FIFA? Well apparently a lot and you can’t risk anyone else seeing this report, not even the whole of FIFA.
In any other industry you would be investigated and looking at jail sentences for what FIFA and its officals have done. In a normal company accepting $22,000 watches from another company as a gift would be considered unethical and bordering on bribery, but not at FIFA.
Shame on FIFA, no shame for Sepp Blatter as he gorges himself from the trough. He only worships money and power and he wants to bring that evil into Qatar.
Sepp is a jerk.The whole thing is sort of reminisent of rent controls in Qatar.
World Cup 2022 will be held in Qatar, get over it.
and it should be on summer right?
I don’t think this article is about Qatar, its about FIFA and its corruption. Qatar just played the game the same as other countries bidding did but the rotten core is FIFA itself. FIFA needs substantial reform in the same way as the IOC was, they managed to get rid of two corrupt officals, (Warner and Bin Hamman) but there are plenty more starting with the man at the top. He has no honour.
MONEY talks and shuts mouths too
What ever…. Why are you even reporting on this? With all the money involved who could possibly think there would be a re-vote? Doha News can you please report on some actual news?