As was only alas to be expected, the mountain of the Michael Garica investigation has parturated a mouse. It became a highly irrelevant event though hardly an unexpected one when he declared pre-publication that Russia and Qatar had been exonerated as controversially elected World Cup hosts.
Though England, very properly and ironically defined by Harold Mayne-Nicholls, chairman of the FIFA group which judged the value of the various bids, has declared England’s for 2018 “unrivalled.” I am sure he is right, but the brutal fact is that England received only two favourable votes, and one of these was its own.
Meanwhile in Garcia’s irrelevant report England have been condemned for courting (inexplicable and absurdly) the rascally Jack Warner of Trinidad for a CONCACAF vote which, in the all too predictable event wasn’t forthcoming.
Well done Andy Anson and his committee of dummies. It even emerged that the England bid committee planned a vote swap with a country which inevitably let them down. Which would have meant three votes instead of two.
Shameless Russia have informed us in “The Dog Ate My Homework” mode that all the email information on their own suspect bid was destroyed when they returned the machines to the company which had supplied them.
Garcia’s investigation, though it has at least exposed the distressing role played by Franz Beckenbauer in the World Cup bidding, never had the teeth to unearth the crucial information which was wanted.
Above all there was no way to compel the villain of the piece in Qatar’s ludicrous bid, Mohamed Bin Hamman, to give testimony.
Harold Mayne-Nicholls himself called Qatar “too hot and too small.” True, the Chilean is under FIFA investigations over his contacts with the sports academy in Qatar but this hardly invalidates his criticisms. He has determined to stand if in the New Year he feels the circumstances are right, and Blatter himself has now been told by FIFA he has questions to answer.
But as things stand we will have to stomach the re-election of the man for a fifth FIFA Presidency. Any residual hope must lie in the possibility that the Swiss are due to promulgate new anti-corruption powers to prosecute officials for corruption or bribes made anywhere in the world. Corruption by international sports bodies would constitute a criminal offence and would embrace illicit payments made outside Switzerland to leading sports officials.
Meanwhile, under pressure Blatter has promised at last to publish the 430-page Garcia report, though it will be heavily censored. What if it wasn’t? We already know that Garcia has ludicrously cleared the Russians and Qataris. His supposed anger at the report’s suppression is of minimal significance.