FIFA's corruption probe into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has cleared Qatar of any wrongdoing. According to a 40 page report published this morning, Michael J Garcia, the former US attorney of the district of Southern New York has found no reason to re-open the bidding process.
Fifa report: Any rule breaches by Russia 2018 & Qatar 2022 were “of very limited scope”
— Paul Kelso (@pkelso) November 13, 2014
FIFA had appointed Garcia as head of the Ethics committee, charged with heading the investigation into allegations made by 'France Football', a french football magazine that claimed FIFA executive committee officials accepted bribes from Qatari officials. Garcia's report has found that there were "potentially problematic" problems with the Qatari bid, but the bid was
...NOT suited to compromise the integrity of the bidding process.
Report concludes payments made by Mohammed Bin Hammam to football officials were connected to his presidential bid, not Q2022 — Paul Kelso (@pkelso) November 13, 2014
The FIFA corruption probe found that any rule breaches from the Qatari or Russian bids were "of a very limited scope". The report distances disgraced official Mohammed Bin Hammam from any World Cup bids, saying that his bribes were linked to his presidential campaign.
Russia 2018 made "only limited number of documents" available, claiming that their computers had been destroyed — Paul Kelso (@pkelso) November 13, 2014
The report also mentions that the Russian 2018 bid only made a limited number of documents available, claiming that their computers had been destroyed. Although the Russian 2018 chief Alexey Sorokin later told Sky Sports news:
Breaking: FIFA investigation finds that England's 2018 bid "undermined the integrity of the World Cup bidding process"
— Dan Roan (@danroan) November 13, 2014
However, this was not the most interesting finding from the FIFA corruption probe. The UK 2018 bid has been heavily criticised for links to disgraced former FIFA executive Jack Warner.
England 2018 bid spent around £35,000 supporting a Caribbean Football Union "gala dinner" in an "attempt to curry favor" with Mr Warner — Dan Roan (@danroan) November 13, 2014
The English bid was found to have "undermined the integrity of the bidding process" by meeting Mr. Warner's expectations "time and time" again. The England bid team was found to have "appeared willing" to provide "favours and benefits" for Mr Warner including:
- Finding a part time job for Mr. Warner's associate
- Provide £35,000 supporting a Carribbean Football Union "gala dinner" in an attempt to "curry favour"
- Providing favours to a Trinidad & Tobago football club that Mr. Warner owned.
While also attempting to satisfy improper requests by at least 2 FIFA executive members "hereby jeopardizing the integrity of the bidding process". The FIFA corruption probe, however found that these occurences were far from reaching the threshold of returning to the bidding process "let alone re-opening it".
What is apparent however is that there is a lot of things left unknown, with only 6 of 11 ex FIFA officials co-operating with the report. We remain to see whether something more comes of this, but if there isn't, both the Russian 2018 and Qatari 2022 World Cups look like they will go ahead as planned.