FIFA appears to be drawing closer to addressing the fate of the the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Ethics Committee head judge Hans-Joachim Eckert’s overview of Michael J. Garcia’s October investigation of the controversial bidding process is expected to emerge this week, the Telegraph reported.
Eckert told FIFA.com Oct. 17 his overview of the investigation would include “a summary of the main findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report, as well as a brief evaluation of the same.” The full 430-page report from Garcia, a former U.S. attorney for New York, will not be published for legal reasons.
Garcia has called for the entire document to be published amid mounting pressure for soccer’s world governing body to provide greater transparency. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said publishing the report would threaten witness confidentiality.
"We will have some final reports and then there will be decisions, but this takes time," Eckert told BBC Sport in September.
"I am now doing a statement on the report and then Mr. Garcia will be working further,” Eckert added.
"There will be some decisions, maybe in spring, and then we will go on."
A number of soccer officials could face discipline for their roles in the bidding process. Aside from Russia and Qatar, the bidding nations included England, Holland-Belgium and Spain-Portugal for 2018, and the United States, Australia, Japan and Korea for 2022.
Both Russia and Qatar have been besieged by critics calling for them to relinquish their roles as hosts. Ivory Coast star Yaya Toure said in 2013 black players may boycott the World Cup if Russia does not address racist chants during games. In September, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the idea of a boycott in response to Russia’s Ukraine policy “a very potent political and symbolic sanction.”
FIFA said in July the 2018 tournament could be a "force for good,” with Blatter offering his full support of Russia as hosts.
Qatar has faced even harsher scrutiny. The Sunday Times reported in May Mohamed bin Hammam, a former top Qatari football official, paid $5 million to get support for Qatar’s bid. There have also been allegations wealthy Qataris are the financial backers of terrorist group ISIS. Reports of migrant-worker abuse in stadium construction also have surfaced.
With the prospect of temperatures that could top 120 degrees Fahrenheit, there have been suggestions the 2022 World Cup could be moved to winter months, which would potentially disrupt club schedules and the Winter Olympics. Fox Sports and Telemundo agreed to pay a record $1 billion for the tournament’s broadcast rights for 2018 and 2022, with the tournament to be played in summer when few major sporting events occur.