Football: Garcia attacks report on own corruption investigation

FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia has attacked the report on his investigation into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, saying he will appeal against it.

Garcia said the 42-page report, written by Joachim Eckert – the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent ethics committee – “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,” the former US Attorney said.

FIFA issued a short statement in response, in which it said only: “We take note of reports mentioning a statement issued by Michael Garcia.

However, for the time being Fifa has not been officially notified of this statement and is therefore not in a position to further comment on this matter at this stage. We will follow up in due time.”

FIFA had previously said the Garcia report could not be published in full for legal reasons.

His intervention means he has effectively dismissed the conclusions that FIFA has drawn from his two-year investigative process.

Britain’s FIFA vice president, Jim Boyce, said it increased the case for as much of his report “as is legally possible” to be made public.

Boyce told Press Association Sport: “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.”

Eckert’s report cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption in their winning bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The document said no proof was found of bribes or voting pacts in an investigation that was hampered by a lack of access to evidence and uncooperative witnesses.

The FA hit back at the report, which heavily criticised England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup, saying it does “not accept any criticism regarding the integrity of England’s bid or any of the individuals involved”.

The report turned much of its fire on England’s conduct, saying it had “damaged the integrity of the ongoing bidding process.”

However, former England 2018 chief operating officer Simon Johnson dismissed the conclusions as a “politically-motivated whitewash.”

“I am not sure how we can have confidence in the outcome of this report,” he said. “The headlines today end up being about the England bid when it should be about how it has exonerated Qatar.

“In relation to England’s bid, I was satisfied at all times that we complied with the rules of the ethics code. We also gave full and transparent disclosure to the investigation, which many others did not do.”

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