With the air barely cleared after the fuss and fury created the weekend’s corruption allegations from The Sunday Times so FIFA’s independent ethics investigator answered the open question about his inquiry.
A statement from his New York office said:
“After months of interviewing witnesses and gathering materials, we intend to complete that phase of our investigation by June 9, 2014, and to submit a report to the Adjudicatory Chamber approximately six weeks thereafter. The report will consider all evidence potentially related to the bidding process, including evidence collected from prior investigations.”
The statement was also signed by Cornel Borbely, deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber.
Garcia was in Oman today to meet members of the Qatar bid committee in one of the last steps of his inquiry which also involved interviewing all continuing members from the FIFA exco in 2010.
Next Monday he will wrap up his inquiry and start preparing his substantive report. This will go up to Hans-Joachim Eckert, the German judge who heads FIFA’s independent adjudicatory chamber.
Eckert will study the report, review whatever recommendations it contains and then issue his own verdict.
The decisive and controversial World Cup host votes took place on December 2, 2010. The FIFA executive committee awarded Russia the 2018 finals and Qatar the 2022 tournament.
Such was the shock and dissatisfaction with the entire process that FIFA subsequently – as an early part of its reform programme – changed the procedure. In future a decision on hosting will be taken be taken by the full Congress on a shortlist drawn up by the exco.
Around half of members of the exco have changed since December 2010 with the departures, notably, of controversial figures such as Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer (CONCACAF), Ricardo Teixeira (Brazil), Nicolas Leoz (Paraguay) and Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar).
Bin Hammam’s behind-the-scenes activities were the subject of 11 pages of remarkable journalism by The Sunday Times. It alleged that he had paid $5m through various accounts to more than 30 senior football figures in Africa and the Caribbean.
The newspaper interpreted the payment as having been in support of Qatar’s World Cup bid though this has been denied by the Gulf state’s local organising committee.
Bin Hamman, simultaneously, was rallying support for himself in an attempt to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.