After a storm of controversy, FIFA’s executive committee has agreed to release an edited version of a confidential report investigating the process by which Russia and Qatar were chosen as World Cup hosts.
However, officials said following a meeting in Marrakesh that a revote for hosting rights to the 2018 or 2022 World Cup was highly unlikely.
According to AFP, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term next year, said on Friday:
“It would really need an earthquake, extremely important new elements to go back on this World Cup in Qatar.”
During the meeting, the ExCo also called for an independent body to be formed to ensure Qatar improves conditions for its migrant workforce, an issue that has drawn international concern and scrutiny.
‘We have been in a crisis’
The world’s football governing body has come under fire in recent months after saying it could not release a more than 400-page document investigating corruption allegations surrounding the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
Last month, ethics judge Hans Joachim Eckert published a summary of the report, concluding that there was no evidence of wrongdoing, and as a result FIFA would close its probe.
But the author of the probe, US attorney Michael Garcia, has said the summary misrepresented the facts. Last week, he resigned in protest, after expressing concerns about FIFA’s transparency and leadership.
Despite the turmoil, during the meeting in Morocco, Blatter reassured those present that internal conflicts were back on track, saying:
“We have been in a crisis. The crisis has stopped because we again have the unity in our government.”
It is not clear when the report will actually be published.
Media outlets say that witnesses’ names will be removed from the probe and the document would only be released once an investigation into five people, three of whom are current voting members of the executive committee, is complete.
Garcia’s former deputy, Cornel Borbely, has been promoted to continue Garcia’s investigation.
It has been reported that the three current FIFA members are:
- FIFA Vice President, Angel Maria Villar of Spain;
- Michel D’Hooghe of Belgium; and
- Worawi Makudi of Thailand.
The other two people under investigation are apparently:
- Franz Beckenbauer, former executive committee member and previous football manager for the German national team; and
- Harold Mayne-Nicholls, former Chile football leader and led FIFA’s inspection team that evaluated the nine World Cup candidates in 2010.
Those found guilty are able to appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport, which could further delay the publication of the investigation.
Meanwhile, the date of Qatar’s World Cup remains up in the air, but is expected to be decided as early as March.
However, FIFA has now confirmed that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup from June 14 to July 15.