Pressure continues to mount on soccer’s governing body FIFA to release a full report into alleged corruption over the bidding process to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. On Monday, the chairman of England’s Football Association, Greg Dyke, became the latest name to demand that a much-criticized 42-page summary released last week that largely cleared hosts Russia and Qatar of wrongdoing is followed by former U.S. attorney Michael Garcia’s findings being made public.
Dyke, a prominent critic of FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter, has written to FIFA’s executives, stating “We cannot go on like this.”
FIFA’s independent ethics adjudicator Hans-Joachim Eckert drew up the summary last week, but was immediately undermined by Garcia’s opposition to the interpretation of his 18-month investigation. Garcia wrote that Eckert’s summary "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.”
Garcia is due to meet Eckert on Thursday to discuss his position. Eckert has continually asserted that releasing the report in full is not legally possible, due to confidentiality agreements.
Dyke, though, is adamant that the full report should be released. “As you probably know the reputation of FIFA was already low in England and much of Europe before the events of last week,” he added in his letter to FIFA.
“The failure to publish Mr Garcia’s report, and his statement that the summary report which was published contained 'numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations,' has resulted in a further decline in public confidence of FIFA.
“Complete transparency is required if the actions of all those who bid, including England 2018, are to be judged fairly.”
England has long been the venue for the strongest criticism of FIFA’s activities. Yet its own bid to host the 2018 World Cup was also met with criticisms in Eckert’s summary, with allegations that favors were traded with former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.
It was Qatar’s bid for the 2022 World Cup, which has been mired in controversy since the decision over the hosts was made in 2010, that has been the main focus of the inquiry. However, despite referencing Qatar’s offers to fund soccer’s development around the globe as areas of concern, Eckert decided there was not enough evidence of corruption from any bidder to prompt a much-called-for revote.
“The effects of these occurrences on the bidding process as a whole were far from reaching any threshold that would require returning to the bidding process, let alone reopening it,” wrote Eckert in his summary.
Dyke is far from the only prominent name in soccer adamant that the case cannot yet be closed. President of U.S. soccer and FIFA Executive Committee member Sunil Gulati along with CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb have also called for Garcia’s 420-page report to be published. German Football League president Reinhard Rauball has suggested that Europe’s governing body UEFA could leave FIFA, while former English Football Association chairman David Bernstein has urged for Europe to boycott the next World Cup unless major reform of FIFA is forthcoming.