FIFA will release a redacted version of ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia’s 430-page report into allegations of corruption involving the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process, the international soccer governing body’s President Sepp Blatter said Friday. The Executive Committee unanimously approved the report’s release during meetings in Marrakech, Morocco, CNN reports.
“It has been a long process to arrive at this point, and I understand the views of those who have been critical. We have always been determined that the truth should be known,” Blatter said in a statement.
The corruption report will not be released until FIFA concludes proceedings with individuals named in the investigation are finished. Blatter added that he is “focused on the future” – a show of support for Adjudicatory Chamber Chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert and his much-criticized 42-page statement on the Garcia report, which affirmed Russia and Qatar had not committed any action serious enough to warrant a loss of their respective 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
“We will not revisit the 2018 and 2022 vote and a report by independent, external legal experts commissioned by [Audit and Compliance Committee Chairman Domenico Scala] supports the view that there are no legal grounds to revoke the Executive Committee’s decision on the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups,” Blatter said. FIFA is taking steps to ensure the “2026 bidding process will be fair, ethical and open,” he added.
Garcia was one of several top soccer and government officials who criticized FIFA for refusing to publish the corruption report when it was completed last month. He resigned Wednesday from his post as the independent chairman of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, citing dissatisfaction with the governing body’s leadership, as well as its handling of his report.
The Executive Committee appointed Cornel Borbely, a lawyer who has worked with the Swiss military, to replace Garcia. Borbely previously worked as Garcia’s deputy. “Although we are disappointed that our work with Mr. Garcia has ended this way, I want to make it clear that our commitment to ethical standards is stronger than ever,” Blatter said.